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UNFINISHED BUSINESS

SYNOPSIS: A hard-working small business owner (Vince Vaughn) and his two associates (Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco) travel to Europe to close the most important deal of their lives. But what began as a routine business trip goes off the rails in every imaginable - and unimaginable - way, including unplanned stops at a massive sex fetish event and a global economic summit.

Review by Louise Keller:
The biggest surprise of this contrived, crass comedy is that it actually has a heart. When the film started, my heart sank lower and lower as it set out its silly premise of three losers on a road trip to Berlin to try to seal a business deal with a handshake. It's not until the final reel that the cumulative effect of all the unlikely elements spewed a payoff of sorts.

Like his character, Vince Vaughn struggles valiantly playing Dan, a down on his luck business executive who is trying to keep his needy family afloat, irrespective of the cost. He is there for his wife (June Diane Raphael) and tries to support his overweight teenage son (Britton Sear) from being bullied and his young daughter (Ella Anderson) who finds it hard to fit in. Private school fees are high as is the financial pressure. Dan might have the courage of his convictions when he quits his job to start out on his own, but his judgment fails big time when he takes on two no-hopers as his sidekicks.

Tom Wilkinson plays Tim, the ageing executive well past his prime. He has a maid-fetish and is keen to discard his wife, who he claims looks like a vending machine. Dave Franco is Mike the virgin, who dreams of sex in a wheelbarrow position and is likeable enough, but is two bob short of a quid. He talks as though he is constantly stoned. While it's easy for screenwriter Steve Conrad to come up with some cheap laughs for these two cardboard characters, it cannot be sustained and they are dead weights.

Highlights include scene-stealing Nick Frost as a helpful executive with kinky tendencies at a Berlin gay establishment where penises in a wall provide handshakes of a different kind. (This is one instance when size does matter!) I liked the idea of the business meeting in the unisex spa when more than business etiquette is exposed and the idea and execution of the installation art accommodation is inspired, when Dan finds himself on display to passers by in a scenario that is reminiscent of Big Brother. There is also Sienna Miller as the go-getter business competitor and James Marsden, suitably smarmy as the duplicitous decision maker.

It's all played for laughs and director Ken Scott brings little flair to the proceedings. So it comes as a welcome surprise to find some redemption in the last reel, when the resolution and genuine heart goes a small way to counter the film's considerable shortfalls.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

UNFINISHED BUSINESS (MA15+)
(US, 2015)

CAST: Vince Vaughn, Dave Franco, Tom Wilkinson, Sienna Miller, James Marsden, Nick Frost

PRODUCER: Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Anthony Katagas, Arnon Milchn,, Steve Tisch

DIRECTOR: Ken Scott

SCRIPT: Steve Conrad

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Oliver Stapleton

EDITOR: Jon Poll, Michael Tronick

MUSIC: Alex Wurman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Luca Tranchino

RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 5, 2015







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