The world keeps intruding on “Unfinished Business,” the actual world that the filmmakers are too honest to deny. A supposedly rollicking comedy about a sink-or-swim business trip, the movie can’t keep out a depressing awareness of modern-day corporate culture and what it does to people.
Indeed, “Unfinished Business” will seem woefully familiar to most anyone who’s been to a movie theater or taken a long plane ride over the past 10 years.
The movie creates a real atmosphere of anxiety around the business deal, which is an achievement. Yet at times, it’s a counterproductive achievement, when we’re then expected to relax and release into the comedy as when Vaughn accidentally finds himself in the midst of a business deal while wearing women’s running clothes. There’s no standing on the outside and laughing at it. No, we’re in it, right there with him, feeling the embarrassment.
What are we to say about a comedy that makes you walk out feeling lousy, that’s like a parade of beaten virtue and mostly sadistic power? Maybe this is the comedy that business deserves. Maybe it’s good to feel lousy, even if that wasn’t the movie’s intention. Or maybe this is just a slightly better than mediocre film with a disconcerting grasp of the truth.
If the movie has a bright spot, it’s Franco. Speaking in stoner-surfer cadences, his face regularly expanding into an infectiously goofy grin, the actor is the one person onscreen who seems determined to cobble together what little he’s given into a distinctive character.