Vince Vaughn

Forgettable 'Term Life' doesn't pay off

Forgettable 'Term Life' doesn't pay off

Early in the dramedy “Term Life,” Vince Vaughn’s character, Nick Barrow, explains that he has an odd job: “I plan heists.” Right from the jump, the film declares its allegiance to the universe of pulp paperbacks, B-movies, and trashy syndicated TV, where every hero is an antihero and every criminal is a master.

However, director Peter Billingsley and screenwriter Andy Lieberman (adapting his own graphic novel) don’t always seem to know what kind of picture it is they’re making. “Term Life” is cleanly plotted and tautly paced, but it’s never as fun as it should be.

The title refers to an insurance policy. After one of his capers goes awry, Nick becomes the target of both the...