A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Unfinished Business is a fleetingly entertaining but confusing comedy (starring Vince Vaughn) that seems to want to have family-friendly themes -- a dad makes it clear that his kids come first, even during a work crisis -- but is far too crude for younger viewers. There's quite a bit of nudity (a couple tries out unusual sex positions, and male genitalia and female breasts are seen), sex talk, and swearing (including "f--k," "s--t," and more -- sometimes done in front of kids), plus plenty of drinking and some drug use (pills, pot). The main character's kids deal with bullying at school, and there's tons of product placement, from Dunkin' Donuts to Facebook to Oreos and more.
What's the story?
Dan Trunkman (Vince Vaughn) is a salesperson with a magic for closing deals. Unfortunately, his boss, Chuck (Siena Miller), doesn't appreciate him. So he quits and decides to open his own business, taking with him a colleague (Tom Wilkinson) fired for being too old (never mind that that's illegal) and a hapless young man (Dave Franco) who happened to be at the office applying for a job. A year later, Dan's enterprise is struggling, though he looks like he's about to close on a big deal that will help keep them afloat. But when he shows up to finalize the details, Chuck is there -- and she seems ready to swoop in and steal Dan's thunder. A trip to Berlin to secure the deal may be his only hope.
Is it any good?
Considering the cast, UNFINISHED BUSINESS should have been a winner. But alas, it's not. The script is really muddled and has a confusing tone. Is it a heartwarming movie about a dad figuring out how to parent kids who are struggling with bullying? Or a crass comedy about a businessman who bonds with his colleagues and turns a work trip into a wolf-pack escapade, complete with prostitutes and "glory holes"? Somehow it tries to combine the two, with befuddling and tin-eared results.
Vaughn is wasted here. His subversive genius is muted in the strangely old-fashioned and paternalistic story. He and Wilkinson have good chemistry, and Franco is funny on his own, but as a trio, they don't quite mesh, making it difficult for audiences to buy their bonding. Unfinished Business is, as its title suggests, half-baked.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about who Unfinished Business is intended to appeal to. Do the "family first" themes go with the over-the-top crude humor/partying/sex?
The movie brings up bullying issues. How do Dan and his wife deal with their children's difficulties at school? Does the way the topic is treated feel realistic?
What kind of father is Dan, and how does it spill over into his life (and vice versa)?
- In theaters: March 6, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: June 16, 2015
- Cast: Vince Vaughn, Dave Franco, James Marsden
- Director: Ken Scott
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: some strong risque sexual content/graphic nudity, and for language and drug use
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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