By Don Simpson | January 14, 2011
Director: Ron Howard
Writer(s): Allan Loeb
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum, Queen Latifah
A buddy movie starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James? Well, I think both guys are humorous enough. Oh, and the movie also stars Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder? (Yes, in a Vaughn/James buddy movie.) I know, the concept is confusing to me as well but the idea does pique my interest. On top of all of that, the movie is directed by Ron Howard. (Yes, the Ron Howard has directed a Vaughn/James buddy movie.) Guess what? The resulting movie is as much of a Dr. Frankenstein creation as it sounds.
Ronnie (Vaughn) and Nick (James) are best friends, they are also business partners. Their newest business venture is for Nick to invent an electric vehicle that rumbles and roars like the muscle cars of the glory days and for Ronnie to find the highest bidder. (I cannot recall any discussion as to whether the electric muscle car will have the get up and go to match its ancestors.) From what I gather, the idea is meant to be as preposterous as it sounds — you know, for kicks — and this project matters very little in the context of the narrative. (So rather than piss off any readers who would not buy an electric vehicle because the current models are too wussy, I will just let this matter go.)
Back to Ronnie and Nick… Nick is married to Geneva (Ryder) and Ronnie is in a long-term relationship with Beth (Connelly). Ronnie discovers a dark secret about Geneva and his dilemma is whether or not he should tell Nick about it. Nick is already under enough stress with the new business endeavor and Ronnie knows that Nick will not receive the news about Geneva very well. So Ronnie decides that is best to keep the secret from everyone — including Beth — and it begins to fester and destroy him.
And somewhere in there is supposed to be a comedy…but I am not quite sure where the humor is? The Dilemma, as it turns out, is not funny, nor is it anything like what we have come to expect from the buddy movie genre, but it is also not a drama. (The Dilemma is being promoted as an “adult comedy” and maybe I just do not understand this genre well enough to appreciate its approach to humor?) As I see it, The Dilemma is just a weakly written and poorly acted version of a Woody Allen script as directed by Rob Reiner on a bad day.
As I wrote at the onset of this review, Vince Vaughn and Kevin James are humorous enough but I will also add that seeing either of their names on a theater’s marquee is not a selling point for me. I have a feeling that there are probably some Vince Vaughn and Kevin James fans out there who might love The Dilemma and will hate my review. To them I say: To each their own!