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MatchFlick Member Reviews
The Dilemma
1 review

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Ron Howard

Written By:
Allan Loeb

Cast:
Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum, Queen Latifah, Amy Morton, Chelcie Ross, Rance Howard, Clint Howard, Guy Van Swearingen, Laura Whyte, Grace Rex, Rebecca Spence, Madison Dirks, Talulah Riley, Katie Korby, Gary Houston, Keith Kupferer, Philip Rayburn Smith, Heidi Johanningmeier, Maura Antas, Mimi Sagadin, Troy West, Mike McNamara, Michael Patrick Thornton, Mimi Sagadin, Sandy Marshall, William Smillie, Laura Cooper, Cheryl Hamada, Wendy George, Kevin Bigley, Christina Anthony, Elaine Robinson, Noah Jerome Schwartz, Chanté René Linwood, Brennan Buhl, William M. Connor, Charlie Hilbrant, Gene Honda, Dave McNulty, Chris Meister, Adam Goodell, Tim Rhoze


 
The Dilemma (2011)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
January 23rd, 2011

Ron Howard is unquestionably an A-list talent, a director with impeccable cinematic credentials. So, when one of his films is released during January, it generates a certain amount of surprise, and skepticism. The skepticism is warranted, however, in the case of 'The Dilemma', Howard's silly foray into the bromance sub-genre. Bromance has become a fashionable, trendy term for a close friendship between two men, which is portrayed here, but bogged down by tepid moments of drama and purely mediocre comedy, clumsily mixed together, and resulting in a frustratingly uneven viewing experience that won't appeal to much of anyone.

Ronny Valentine (Vince Vaughn) and Nick Brannen (Kevin James) have been best buddies since college, and are now business partners. Nick is happily married to Geneva (Winona Ryder) and Ronny, more of a player, is pondering whether to propose to his girlfriend, Beth (Jennifer Connelly). He looks at Nick and Geneva and sees perfection, until he discovers something that shakes his very confidence in the sacred institution of marriage. Geneva is having an affair with a younger man, the handsome, vapid, tattooed Zip (Channing Tatum). Ronny then debates whether to tell Nick, or keep quiet and hope that it was just a one-time fling.

But then, things get more complicated when Nick is placed in a job-related situation that puts him under a lot of stress, and he is looming on the brink of a meltdown. Geneva admits to the affair when Ronny confronts her about it, and then secures his silence through blackmail. Now the quandary Ronny faces is a legitimate one, but how he chooses to deal with it, is not. Much of what he does is creepy and intrusive; he spies on and stalks Geneva and Zip, snatches Geneva's phone so that he can look at her text messages, tries to break into Zip's apartment, gets into a number of fights, lies to Beth, who comes to think that his old gambling habit has returned, which seems a probable explanation for his sneaking around.

He also nearly sabotages Beth's parents' 40th anniversary party, by making a rude, biting speech extolling the virtues of honesty. This monologue is an undisputed highlight, delivered with gusto by Vaughn. It shows a sharper, more bitter tone that is never quite replicated elsewhere. I have to give Vince Vaughn credit for doing merely what is required of him by the schizophrenic screenplay; he is obnoxious, outrageous, and over-the-top when called upon to be, and displays a sobering calmness when that is required, giving what is occasionally a sincere, heartfelt performance.

Of course, that typical Vaughn persona shines through with alarming regularity, the Vaughn people know and perhaps love from Wedding Crashers or Dodgeball. James, much like Vaughn, is simply playing a slight variation of the same archetypal personality his role usually calls for, an affable, goofy, even clueless fellow, who can handle humor more effectively than he can serious material. Jennifer Connelly shines in a light-hearted supporting turn, and Winona Ryder steals a vast majority of her scenes, presenting Geneva with a surprising and unexpected depth, hinting at her yearnings, disappointments, frustrations, and feelings of guilt.

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Jon
Jan 29, 2011 4:18 PM
 
Maybe if the main characters had been portrayed by actors with REAL talent the movie might have succeeded. The casting is flawed by putting these two gentlemen who are invariably typecast together. I'm a bit jaded already by these buddy films which are predictable and dull. Compared to The Fighter and The King's Speech, both superb films about the relationships between men, The Dilemma will remain just that: a dilemma.



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