Did Vince Vaughn Really Reinvent Himself for ‘True Detective’?

Source: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Vince Vaughn is supposedly undergoing a career reinvention stemming from his starring role on the highly anticipated second season of True Detective. But is the comedic actor really going to be able to pull off turning his career around á la Matthew McConaughey? His latest movie, the raunchy comedy Unfinished Business, sees Vaughn in the tasteless humor mode that has typified his career in recent years leaving critics, fans, and the box office all unimpressed. This is exactly the kind of material Vaughn needs to get away from if he’s going to make the media-labeled “Vaughnaissance” happen.

Who was going to land the coveted roles on the second season of True Detective was the most buzzed about casting rumor in Hollywood last year not related to a superhero movie. When it was announced that Vaughn would play Frank Seymon, “a career criminal in danger of losing his empire when his move into legitimate enterprise is upended by the murder of a business partner,” fans of the first season were a bit skeptical about the actor’s ability to pull off a dramatic role. Vaughn is, after all, mostly known for comedic roles which have been slipping in quality in recent years.

But True Detective was known for being a key part of Matthew McConaughey’s own career reinvention, dubbed by the press as the “McConaissance.” If the show could be a part of McConaughey’s transformation from romantic comedy hunk to serious actor with one of the most acclaimed performances of the year, then perhaps it could do something similar for Vaughn.

Before True Detective, McConaughey had just won an Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club. While Vaughn’s newest movie Unfinished Business, co-starring Dave Franco and Tom Wilkinson, is hardly Oscar-worthy material. If Vaughn is serious about this whole “Vaughnaissance” thing (as cheesy as the term is Vaughn could really use a career reinvention), then he should hope that people just ignore this comedy flop.

Unfinished Business currently has a meager 13% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie sees Vaughn playing a businessman who travels to Europe to secure a deal for his new company that sees him going up against his domineering former boss (Sienna Miller). Taking his incompetent co-workers with him to Berlin sees them meeting with all kinds of European-themed misadventures.

Variety wrote of the film:

Awkwardly wrapping a heartwarming message of self-acceptance in a layer of crude sexual humor, it’s like a date who tries to pat you on the back with one hand while feeling you up with the other. As such, Unfinished looks unlikely to do much business, or to end the nearly decade-long string of mediocrities (Fred Claus, Four Christmases, The Dilemma, The Watch, The Internship) that has plagued its star, whose fans are advised to keep whetting their appetites for the second season of True Detective.

Fans of the first season of True Detective are eagerly waiting to see if the second installment, which will feature all new characters in a new setting with a completely different story, will measure up to the high bar that’s been set for the series. Vaughn’s acting will be a key piece of that puzzle. It’s doubtful that show creator Nic Pizzolatto would’ve cast him in the series if Vaughn hadn’t proved himself capable, but the actor isn’t going to be able to pull off a career reinvention if he doesn’t take other strong roles in addition to the show.

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