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Movie Review

As digital as our world has become, there's still something special about a simple human touch. Even in business. Sure, most of the real work is done through Skype and spreadsheets and bazillions of emails. But after all the numbers and letters and presentations and papers have had their say, it comes down to the handshake.

Dan Trunkman hasn't had a good shake for a long time. A year ago he quit his sales job in a huff and launched a startup company to sell swarf (metal manufacturing byproducts). He now has all of two employees: Timothy McWinters, a sixtysomething vet of the biz who was kicked out via mandatory retirement; and Mike Pancake, a naive waif of a go-getter who seems a few swarfs short of a bin. They've set up shop in a Dunkin' Donuts—fitting, considering how many times their deals have been dunked. Truly, Dan's plans to build a prosperous business have grown soggy and cold.

But he's about to ink a massive deal that could turn it all around. He's ready to get buy-in from a global company sorely in need of some swarf, and all Dan and his associates need do is take a quick business trip for that obligatory shake—two palms, two thumbs, eight fingers, pressed together. That's all they need.

What happens when Dan and his tiny team arrive? They discover they're not the only guys groping for the grip. Chuck Portnoy, Dan's ruthless old boss, is looking for that shake too.

Positive Elements

At first, Unfinished Business seems mostly a comedy about … business. But in a way, it's actually a story about family. As Dan labors to close this ever more elusive deal, his family is struggling. (His oldest son, Paul, is being relentlessly bullied at school because of his weight, for instance.) And even as Dan twists and contorts to get that shake nailed down (in part so he can send Paul to a better school where maybe the bullying won't be so bad), he's also mulling over a homework project that his daughter Bess asked him to help with: a project that asks for a definition of what sort of pops he really is.

Dan's caught in a place where many fathers (and mothers) are—wanting to do right by their kids, even though that sometimes means being away from them. He knows that his efforts to be a long-distance dad are inadequate. When he flies home, completely exhausted from the craziest trip imaginable, he hugs his kids and dutifully settles in behind the wheel to drive back from the airport. The next morning, still thinking he needs to work on Bess' homework project, he finds that she's done it herself. Her daddy, Bess wrote in crayon, "is the one who drives when everyone else is tired." (It's not a bad description of a father.)

Along the way, Dan grows to appreciate his employees better, too—Timothy's experience and Mike's enthusiasm—even as they both make mistakes. In the end, when it looks as if he might get the deal at the expense of his team, he chooses his men over the money.

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Dan shows up at a unisex sauna in Berlin to go over some numbers with a prospective client. Naked, she accuses Dan of being an American Pilgrim full of puritanical ideals that she finds discomforting. Dan takes off his clothes to put her at ease. And we see a number of other naked people (male and female) as well. In other scenes, scantily clad women, some of them topless, dance, kiss and wrestle.

Another deal broker is at a massive gay fetish festival held on the streets of Berlin. And what happens next is too obscene to fully describe here: It involves a setup for anonymous sexual stimulation, visible male sexual organs and a multitude of erotic images.

There are crude-to-obscene conversations about anatomical size, losing one's virginity (twice), seeing vaginas, porn, settling for "one shade of grey," prostitution, masturbation, oral sex and orgasms.

Outright sex scenes boast nudity (including full breast exposure), sexual movements, and explicit sounds and dialogue. Tim hires a "sex maid." It's implied that he's going to have sex with an elderly woman who grabs his rear. An erotic bout of phone sex is overheard by others. Dan goes jogging in his wife's tights.

Violent Content

Mike and a Japanese businessman, both under the influence of tequila, slap each other several times. We see a video clip of Bess beating up another kid. (When Vince learns that Bess was defending her brother from some vicious insults, Dan says he's proud of her.) Someone's hit by a gigantic gerbil ball. A car crashes.

Crude or Profane Language

About 40 f-words and 15 s-words. We hear lots of uses of "a--," "b--ch" and "h---." God's name is jammed up with "d--n" four or five times. There are quantities of rancid references to various body parts (including "d--k," "t-ts" and "p---y").

Drug and Alcohol Content

Along with others, Tim takes what appears to be Ecstasy, which he seems to really enjoy. He sucks up smoke from a bong. All three of the businessmen drink to crazy excess, downing beer, whiskey and tequila.

Other Negative Elements

Bess says she sometimes hides in the bathroom at school and pretends to "poop" for two hours.


Since Unfinished Business starts out in a donut shop, I'm going to stretch out my pastry metaphor just a bit more. This flick is like a jelly donut, where the raspberry filling is as sweet as you could wish … and the dough surrounding the center is made up of used coffee grounds, soiled newspaper pages, spoiled sardines and motor oil.

Vince Vaughn's most recent flicks have been a lot like that—some better, some worse. The guy always seems to offer viewers a few family values (namely that he values family), but smothers the sentiment in some insanely problematic content. And Unfinished Business might just take the cake (made from a stack of donuts, of course). While the movie might end on a high note, the images it leaves are as low as low can go.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

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Episode Reviews

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Readability Age Range





Vince Vaughn as Dan Trunkman; Tom Wilkinson as Timothy McWinters; Dave Franco as Mike Pancake; Sienna Miller as Chuck Portnoy; Britton Sear as Paul Trunkman; Ella Anderson as Bess Trunkman; Nick Frost as Bill Whilmsley; James Marsden as Jim Spinch


Ken Scott ( Delivery Man)


20th Century Fox



Record Label



In Theaters

March 6, 2015

On Video

June 16, 2015

Year Published



Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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