Now Showing on Cable: “The Dilemma”

Premiering this weekend on HBO was “The Dilemma,” a comedy released in January of this year starring Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder.

“The Dilemma” is the story of two best friends and co-workers. When one of them (Vaughn) catches the others wife (Ryder) having an affair, he has a “dilemma”. Does he tell his friend (James) or not?

Comedy ensues.

The movie begins with Vince Vaughn’s character about to propose to his girlfriend (Jennifer Connelly). His best friend, played by Kevin James, is happily married (to Winona Ryder’s character). The two have just scored a big deal with Chrysler Dodge to develop electric motors for muscle cars. James is nervous about being able deliver on his end of the bargain, and the deal is important financially for both of them. So when Vaughn spies Ryder’s character kissing another man (Channing Tatum), he has a difficult decision to make. Does he tell his best friend and disrupt his friend’s life at a time when he needs him to be focused on his job, or does he pretend as if he never saw anything for the sake of the deal?

When he confronts Ryder, she tells him the affair is over and pleads with him not to say anything until James finishes his invention and completes the deal with Dodge. Vaughn soon catches her with Tatum again, though. When Vaughn presses her harder to tell the truth, Ryder pushes back, telling him she’ll claim he’s lying to get back at her over a spurned advance.

Vaughn tries to avoid telling James, but complications ensue. Vaughn is in Gambler’s Anonymous, so when people suspect him of lying, it’s suspected he may be gambling again. Keeping the secret forces Vaughn into uncomfortable situations and compromising positions. It slowly tears him down and starts ruining his life. He falls apart. Unfortunately, none of it is all that funny. The high concept is a little thin, and there’s not a lot of comedy to be had in any of situations. It also occasionally ventures into dramatic territory, almost to the point of me calling it a “dramedy”.

Vince Vaughn is always fairly funny to me though. Funny enough at least. Even though whatever laughs were here were credit to him and his style as opposed to the material, I still had a chuckle or two along the line. Plus it has the eternally gorgeous Jennifer Connelly and “Free Winona” Ryder. So it’s not anything great, and I couldn’t really recommend it, but it wasn’t painful to sit through.

C+ It’s not very funny, but at least it doesn’t offend. It’s just kind of bland and unmemorable.

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2 thoughts on “Now Showing on Cable: “The Dilemma”

  1. It’s not very funny or moving, actually it’s terribly messy but I liked the cast and I liked how Howard tried to make a more adult dramedy, even though I do think he was a bit mis-cast when it came to this material. It was surprising that the funniest member from the whole cast was actually Channing Tatum of all people. Good review Dan.

    • Ha! Good point Dan…. Tatum was the funniest. I haven’t even thought of that but yeah, right? LOL

      You know what’s funny? Until you mentioned it, I hadn’t even realized Ron Howard directed this. I should have known when I saw Clint in it…

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