PRETTY MUCH ANYONE who's ever seen a movie is privy to the fact that Vince Vaughn is only capable of playing one character—his fast-talking, interminably sarcastic presence has been a signature of middling comedies since the early '00s. Not unlike the shtick of Vaughn's similarly predictable and similarly irrelevant colleague Ben Stiller, his is a tired, one-dimensional persona whose effectiveness is almost totally contingent on a solid premise and a decent supporting cast.
With regards to its premise, Unfinished Business leaves a lot to be desired: Dan (Vaughn) is an overworked businessman who impulsively quits his job and starts his own company with a sex-obsessed old guy, Tim (Tom Wilkinson), and a mawkish, imbecilic kid, Mike (Dave Franco). When an opportunity to close a big deal leads the trio first to Maine and then to Berlin, dick jokes ensue. The rest is an indecipherable blur.
It's an occasionally funny blur, thankfully, due to the three principal characters' amusing dynamic. But things get weird about a third of the way in, when the movie starts taking itself seriously with a half-baked, anti-bullying subplot involving Dan's overweight son and precocious daughter, not to mention the implication that Dan's motivation for success is to send his kids to private school. It feels like amenable pandering at best, and indicative of a deeply confused film at worst.
That said, Unfinished Business succeeds when it's the cinematic equivalent of a Spencer's Gifts: It's funny to watch Franco attempt to (incorrectly) have sex with someone in the wheelbarrow position, and it's even funnier to hear Wilkinson say "titty" and see him smoking out of a bong. And Vaughn, whose last three movies have been nothing short of unwatchable, even reminds us that he can be legitimately charming—at least when he's not trying to pull on our heartstrings with that "family man" shit. So Unfinished Business turns out to be a minor triumph for an actor with a pretty abysmal résumé. This doesn't necessarily mean it's worth seeing.