Mini Review Movie Review

Movie Review – Dilemma, The (Mini Review)

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– Summary –

Director : Ron Howard
Year Of Release :  2011
Principal Cast :  Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum, Queen Latifah.
Approx Running Time :  118 Minutes
Synopsis:  Ronny and Nick are best friends and partners in a car design firm – when Ronny sees Nick’s wife kissing another man, he must decide whether to tell his stressed out best friend or not: if he does he may ruin the life-changing deal they’re currently going through with vehicle manufacturer Dodge.
What we think :  Funnier than it has any right to be, and even  manages to make Vince Vaughn less annoying than I usually find him, The Dilemma is not a bad film at all. The central premise is core to the films humor – or, I think, its drama – and Vaughn gets a lot of mileage out of playing the tormented one of the cast. Ron Howard, who is rapidly developing into a decent director again after those Dan Brown misfires, keeps the tempo light and the balance between pathos and comedy juuust right – there’s no dilemma about choosing whether to watch this or not: you should.

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 Just Quickly

Never having been a fan of Vince Vaughn’s “million words a minute” style of comedy, I approached The Dilemma with the reticence usually reserved for mortuary assistants opening the body bag for the first time. I kinda knew what to expect – Vaughn plays yet another good-but-flawed-dude trying to make the best of a bad situation, complete with ribald humor and adult themes, while the rest of the cast serve to support the weight of what was going to be a fairly light, fluffy script. I expected it, and to a point, I got what I paid for. I also got a bit more. The Dilemma sees Vaughn play Ronny, one half of a car design team with Nick (Kevin James), best friends since school, and whose own relationships seem (on the surface at least) to be heading in the right direction. However, while searching for the right place to propose to his long-term girlfriend Beth (Jennifer Connelly), Ronny sees Nicks wife Geneva (Winona Ryder) kissing another man (Channing Tatum). At the same time, Nick and Ronny have begun to work on a massively important deal with car-makers Dodge, and the deal depends entirely on Nick coming up with a certain kind of technology before their timeframe expires. With this added stress, Ronny must decide if Nick can handle the news of his wife’s infidelities, or if he should keep it to himself. As his anger towards Geneva grows, and she blackmails him into silence, Ronny’s moral conflict threatens to explode into his own relationship, and bring that down as well.

The Result

Here in Australia, The Dilemma was buried alongside a whole bunch of other new cinema releases, which meant the film didn’t get as much publicity (and critical kudos) as it should have at the time. Vince Vaughn delivers his usual schtick in this film, although his market share of comedy time is tempered by the larger-than-life Kevin James backing him up as Nick. Vaughn and James have a really nice screen chemistry, working as a duo makes for hilarious viewing. The film does wander into darker territory, however, thanks to the plot device of infidelity and the straightforward way director Ron Howard chooses to direct this facet of the story. It could have been a disaster, mixing comedy with the dramatic nature of this kind of plot, but Howard and Vaughn deliver the goods when required, and for that they are to be commended. Jennifer Connelly somehow decided to have a personality transplant before taking on this role, with a seemingly never-ending blank expression all across her moosh regardless of the required emotion; it was tough to see her as anything but just Plain Jane here. The major surprise package was Winona Ryder – yes, she of the shoplifting infamy – as Geneva, the conniving, cheating slimy wife of the too-good-for-her Nick.. at least, until some of Nick’s foibles are unearthed, and the scenario becomes even more complicated. Ryder delivers an excellent turn as Geneva, almost overcoming her seeming inability to age at all on-screen – dammit, she still looks twenty one here – and it’s to her credit that she takes a role like this to get her back into the industry. Geneva isn’t a sympathetic character at all, and Ryder brings her A-game to the bitch completely. The Dilemma is, at its heart, a character piece with snippets of humor thrown in. Don’t expect riotous laughs here, although when the laughs do come, they are pretty funny indeed. Expect a well written, well acted comedy/drama, one in which even the normally effusive Vince Vaughn plays it fairly straight this time. A rewarding film indeed.

7-Star

 

 

 

 

 

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10 COMMENTS

  1. I can't give my opinion on this film because I haven't seen it all. All I can say is that I remember it being so horrid during the first twenty minutes I had to switch it off. I think I felt like I was watching Vince Vaughan playing Vince Vaughan again – the guy is the same person in every film – he's like the male version of Jennifer Aniston albeit with a little more talent. It was nice to see Winona Ryder back though…when she's not "shopping" she is a really good actress.

    • @ Scott – yeah, I'm not a big fan of Vaughn either, I just generally find him annoying. But he wasn't too bad in this, and Kevin James more than diluted the Vaughn-effect!

      @ Dan – With you on Ryder, mate. I don't think I've ever read a line like your comparison to Jennifer Aniston – dude, that's hilarious!! I might have to use that!

  2. Fortunately,i don't hate Vince Vaughn so i'm allowed to see this. Thanks for "uncovering" this for me, i don't think it ever made it to Yeaman so i never heard of it. Is it suitable for 14 year olds?

    • Depends on your tolerance for cussing, Al. There's no nudity (that I can remember) but I think the characters get a little fruity with their language at times….

  3. I hate the way vince vaughn delivers a performance. Hes annoying as hell, but I don't mind kevin james. That said, I actually thought vince was tolerable in this. Nice review!

    • @ Ruth – Hell, that poster is terrible!! Boring, shows nothing about the story and feels bland and generic. Based on that, I'd probably have avoided The Dilemma too! Lucky for you all, I didn't ever see that poster until now. Thanks for dropping by Ruth!

      @ Celia – Okay… I'm not a big fan of Vaughn either, as you might have guessed, but he's okay in this. Thanks for the comment!

  4. I really enjoyed this film, and i'm one of those who don't relaly enjoy Vince Vaughn either. Nice review, Rodney.

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Never blessed with a body worthy of a porn star, nor being the heir to a wealthy industrialists fortune, nor suffering the tragedy of having his parents murdered outside a Gotham theater, Rodney is, contrary to popular opinion, neither Ron Jeremy, JD Rockefeller, or Batman. As a serious appreciator of film since 1996, Rodney's love affair with the medium has continued with his online blog, Fernby Films, a facility allowing him to communicate with fellow cineasts in their mutual love of all things movie.

Movie Review – Dilemma, The (Mini Review)

by Rodney Twelftree
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