Making the world safe for filmgoers since 2002.
And so in UNFINISHED BUSINESS, THE MAN IN THE GRAY FLANNEL SUIT discovers that business as usual in the 21st century is less about facing the difficulties of conformity than it is about taking a cue from the local anarchists. In the spirit of that anarchy, the film refuses to conform to the principle of a unified theme, darting in and out of absurdism, satire, poignance, social screed, and the cultural backwardness of the average American. There was so much potential, and so little of it was realized.
On the other hand, Vince Vaughn hasn’t been this good in a while. His dicombobulated slow burn, the one he does so well, serves him well as Dan Trunkman, the newly liberated salesman of an industrial leftover called SWARF. He’s quit after being told by his imperiously condescending boss, the hot blonde named Chuck (Sienna Miller), that even after having his best year ever, he’s getting a 5% pay cut. On his way out, he’s joined by Tim (Tom Wilkinson), laid off for being too old, and Mike (Dave Franco), who brought a box of desk doo-dads to his initial job interview in order to show confidence. From such humble beginnings, Dan plans on keeping his family afloat including sending his misfit son to private school where the environment might be less hostile.
Naturally he comes up against his old boss, naturally the company to which he’s pitching is run by a vapid pretty boy (James Marsden) who may have a personal as well as professional relationship with Chuck. And, further naturally, if he doesn’t close this deal, his company goes under and his son is left to the bullies.
Tim has trouble staying awake as he dreams of a divorce from his rectangular wife, Dan dreams of staying solvent, and Mike is essentially the human incarnation of a helium balloon: all bright smile and upbeat attitude while saddled with the cutesy last name of Pancake. As their adventure unfolds, there are a few laughs, thanks to Vaughn, and the wonderful Nick Frost as an underappreciated flunky for the corporation holding all the strings, but mostly it’s predictable (naked in a co-ed sauna, no hotel rooms during Oktoberfest and Folsom Pride) with sudden shifts in tone and mood that are irritatingly frequent. I’m throwing down a gauntlet here. It’s time to retire the old guy discovering drugs in a club as a trope. Past time. Way past time.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS get credit for having an air of sweetness about it, even during the riot that accompanies the trio’s visit to Berlin during a G8 conference. Next time, pick an issue, pick an tone, and have the courage to stay with them.