The Dilemma Movie Review (2011)
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The Dilemma Movie Review (2011)

With so many distractions in "The Dilemma" it's Vaughn's performance that saves this film. His confrontations with Ryder's cheating Geneva sizzle, showing two sides to every story. In a tremendously raucous scene where Ronny finds the young tough guy with a sensitive side named Zip, played by Channing Tatum (here-me-now-and-believe-later Tatum will be one of the better young actors within the next few years), who's sleeping with Geneva, ends with Vaughn's crazed howling at the night using a make-shift blowtorch. A bravo scene indeed! Connelly and Ryder also handle their own weight just fine while Kevin James never reaches any other emotion than anxious and fearful while Queen Latifah's lame sexual metaphor spouting part is all but forgotten.

Mitch Hansch/ movieswithmitch.com Ron Howard's "The Dilemma" is a multi-faulted film in search of itself but one that actually has something interesting to say and that's led by a highly charged performance from lead Vince Vaughn. Vaughn harks back to his younger years of more passionate portrayals rather than just relying on his frat boy shtick, even though Allan Loeb's uneven script tries over and over to trap him there. At many times you don't know whether to laugh or cry as the story fumbles to have a consistent tone. One moment it's slap-sticky yucks by having Vaughn fall into poisonous plants and then real situation drama with a tearful heartfelt prayer to God on a street bench. This film may get a lot of flack for indecisiveness but it's that same trait that fuels Vaughn's complex character's- and forgive me this- dilemma.

Ronny Valentine (Vince Vaughn) catches his best friend's wife Geneva, played by Winona Ryder, cheating. The dilemma- whether or not to tell his best friend Nick Brannen, played by Kevin James. Or course he should. Right? Well, Ronny is in the car business with Nick and they are in the middle of a make or break it deal for the both of them. Ronny's the mouth (something that Vaughn has made a career out of) and he doesn't want Nick, who's the brains (something that James has not made a career out of), to let his ulcer ridden stress-out nature ruin the deal with heartbreaking news like that. But that only scratches the surface of how Ronny makes it so tough to decide. Ronny's habit of lying to solve the problems around him is perfectly summed up by Beth (Jennifer Connelly) his serious girlfriend; "You're not fixing anything, you're just breaking more stuff." One thing director Howard really taps into is the heavy responsibilities that come with having a best friend and how sensitive that relationship can be. Having to tell your very best friend in the world that his wife is a no-good-dirty-little-jackwagon-skank is no easy task (sorry, I'm getting married in less than four months) (married to the most beautiful and wonderfully faithful lady alive, that is!). Howard keeps the question in focus throughout of how long does it take to know someone or whether we can ever really know someone. Forget what the buddy comedy/ date movie trailers tell you, the very hurtful truths and consequences of extra-marital affairs are shown in all their ugliness. Again, this paints a confusing picture but at the same time it paints an uncomfortable and tense one that's at some slight level very thought provoking.

With so many distractions in "The Dilemma" it's Vaughn's performance that saves this film. His confrontations with Ryder's cheating Geneva sizzle, showing two sides to every story. In a tremendously raucous scene where Ronny finds the young tough guy with a sensitive side named Zip, played by Channing Tatum (here-me-now-and-believe-later Tatum will be one of the better young actors within the next few years), who's sleeping with Geneva, ends with Vaughn's crazed howling at the night using a make-shift blowtorch. A bravo scene indeed! Connelly and Ryder also handle their own weight just fine while Kevin James never reaches any other emotion than anxious and fearful while Queen Latifah's lame sexual metaphor spouting part is all but forgotten.

The climax takes place in the usually comedic setting of an intervention that doesn't know how to spilt time between comedy and dark drama. Like a Black & Tan beer the black Guinness drama pushes the tan Bass comedy to the bottom of the glass. This is Vaughn's film which made for no dilemma on whether or not to recommend "The Dilemma" to you. Recommended.

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