Monday, 9 March 2015

Unfinished Business (3 Stars)

This film has left me with mixed feelings. Some parts of it I loved, some parts I hated, some parts left me indifferent.

Dan Trunkman (Vince Vaughn) is stuck between a rock and a hard place. His wife is pressuring him to send their teenage son to an expensive private school to protect him from bullying. But at work he's told that he will be given a 5% pay cut. He walks out, saying he'll found his own company. He calls on his colleagues to walk out with him, but the only ones who follow him are Tim (Tom Wilkinson), who has just been fired because he was too old, and Mike (Dave Franco), who was just turned down at a job interview. A year later they're still a three-man company selling swarf. Do you know what swarf is? It's so rare that my spell checker doesn't recognise the word. It's metal shavings, the waste product after cutting metal.

To close a big deal the three men have to fly to Berlin. What a city! It's the best place on Earth to party. It's taken a long time, but Berlin has finally regained its pre-war decadence. It's home to every conceivable vice and lust.

For me the film started slowly. Way too slowly. The introductory scene in which Dan leaves his job was supposed to be funny, but it wasn't. I was glad when it was over. The scenes with Dan's family relationships might have been funny if they weren't so tragic. Fat boys get bullied at school. It's an unfortunate fact of life. A lot of the humour was centred around Tim being a horny old man and Mike being a simple-minded idiot. It was funny at first, but the more the jokes continued the less sympathy I had with them. The only parts of the film that I really loved were the Berlin scenes. Beautiful! It's the Berlin that I know and love. And of course, the scenes with Dan's business partner Bill (Nick Frost) are good, because Nick Frost is amazing in whatever he does. It's just a shame we didn't see more of him.

According to the initial figures, "Unfinished Business" is heading towards being a box office flop, not even earning back it's budget. That doesn't surprise me. The fault is probably in the script. It could have been a lot better if it had been streamlined, eliminating minor details and concentrating on the parts that were genuinely funny.

P.S. Even though I speak fluent German, the expression "Flügel schlagen" makes no sense to me. Literally it translates as "flap your wings", but why would a GPS say something like that?

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