Monday, 9 March 2015

REVIEW - UNFINISHED BUSINESS (KEN SCOTT)


Although not, overall, the very worst comedy released by a Hollywood studio in recent years, Unfinished Business probably represents the deepest trough they've sunk to, the measliest gains they've reaped. It's a bizarre state of affairs when a globe-trotting comedy is remarkable mostly for seeming small, cheap, unambitious and unusually sad. Many wannabe funny-films find humour in pushing boundaries or in inviting mild ridicule to easy targets - Unfinished Business takes two targets so easy that any potential offense is mitigated by the functionality of the jokes, and mines mostly sorrow from them. It's a vaguely harrowing experience watching Tom Wilkinson humiliate himself with material this vulgar, with a character so wan you wonder if he'd rather just top himself than bother another day. Dave Franco injects his role with a blithe innocence that renders him adorable when he's not just pitiful. It's alternately depressing and relieving to watch these two actors, less so their co-star Vince Vaughn, whose tired shtick doesn't even inspire him any more. But Vaughn's flaws as a performer are only a fraction of Unfinished Business' problems. Director Ken Scott and screenwriter Steve Conrad appear undecided where the humour lies in their joint creation, resulting in a relentless procession of odd moments where you're unsure if you ought to laugh or not. Alas, objectively, there's precious little humour in here at all, so you probably ought not to. Furthermore, this turd is polished with generous spoonfuls of casual sexism and homophobia, pathetic prudishness and a half-arsed message about self-empowerment. Enough, already.