The Dilemma (2011)

Still don’t know whether this was a c0medy, or a drama.

Ronny (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Kevin James) are best friends and partners in an auto design firm. They are pursuing a project to make their firm famous. Ronny sees Nick’s wife Geneva (Winona Ryder) kissing another man (Channing Tatum). Ronny seeks out answers and has to figure out how to tell Nick about what he saw while working with him to complete their critical presentation.

The Dilemma gained a lot of controversy back when the first trailers came out, because it said the word “gay” in it. Now, the controversy had people wishing this would be some good stuff, but in all honesty I think it was just controversy for an utterly forgettable film.

The film is directed by of all people, Ron Howard. That’s right, A Beautiful Mind Ron Howard. Howard at least makes this a better comedy than your typical Hollywood fare. There are some good smart jokes here and there, and an interesting premise.

But the problem with this film is what they do with that premise, and then everything starts to get very sloppy. I don’t think that the film had any idea of what it wanted to be. There are moments of comedy that sometimes work, and other times don’t. But then there are times where this just steps into very dark dramatic material, that you aren’t expecting at all. I was actually turned away from the sudden tonal change, because I feel like they could have done a lot with this premise, comedy wise, but they chose to go with drama instead. The drama works, but not enough to get us away from the fact that it is all pretty inconsistent and tries too hard to get laughs from random slapstick, and random in-and-out comedy.

In recent comedies, I’ve seen Vince Vaughn fall back on that “guys-guy” persona, but here he really gives it his all with his physical comedy, expressions, and that comedic timing that always makes him a treat. There’s just a certain depth to his character, that Vaughn gives that I enjoyed, and proved that he can actually act. Kevin James surprisingly gives a lot of depth into his character probably playing the least-happy character I have ever seen him play anywhere. Winona Ryder has also started to make a new career for herself, with Black Swan and now this, she is sort of starting a come-back. She is actually pretty good here, giving a lot of depth into her character, and hitting that devious note she always hits so well. Also, I’m sort of getting tired with guys that look like Paul Blart being able to bag hotties like Winona Ryder. I get it, it’s a movie, but really?!? Jennifer Connelly won an Oscar in her last outing with Ron Howard and here she brings a lot more to the table than I was expecting. She doesn’t show up much which was a bummer, but when she does there’s that heart she brings to every scene she’s in, and it’s just what get’s me through her scenes. Channing Tatum is the real surprise here playing, Zip the guy who Ryder is caught with, and he is hilarious. It’s sad to say that CHANNING TATUM is the funniest thing in a comedy starring VINCE VAUGHN AND KEVIN JAMES, but he makes fun of his tough guy persona here, and I could not stop laughing with every scene he had. I hope he can do more comedy in the future, cause it really does seem to work out for him. Queen Latifah also shows up, and her lines are cheesy and terrible which is a shame because she can be awesome given the right material.

Consensus: The Dilemma is messy with it’s constant tone problems, of knowing whether or not it wants to be a comedy or drama, but its performances are good, and there is a certain depth to the story and characters which makes this a cut above your typical male comedy. It has many flaws, but you can still enjoy yourself.



  1. I didn’t have much hope for this movie. At best I thought it would just be mediocre. I do kinda like James and I like Vaughn. Nothing about this ever looked to impress me though.

    Guess I’ll be waiting to rent it off of Netflix.

  2. I’m so over Vince Vaughn. Some of his films, like Dodgeball, or Wedding Crashers, are pretty funny, but the majority of the time I just can’t stand his constant stream-of-consciousness dialogue – dude, shut the hell up!!!

    I’m skippin’ this one.

  3. Hmmm good review. The movie could of did much better, Your reviews are more for hardcore movie watchers as myself…I feel some need the benefit of the doubt to actually go and see the movie and judge for themselves. But great reviews all around though.

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