Film Review: The Dilemma

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Sam Bathe on 21 Jan 2011

Though it’s Ron Howard’s talents behind the camera, The Dilemma was only ever going to be a ‘Vince Vaughn comedy’. Now in amongst the comedy A-list trademarking his commanding awkward-come-charming, often improvised, dialogue, he’s got an easygoing appeal; inoffensive and watchable.

The Dilemma puts Vaughn alongside frequent co-star Kevin James as college friends and business partners, developing innovative engine technology to sell to the wider market. On the eve of a meeting with a major car manufacturer, however, a shocking discovery threatens to rock both of their lives. Scoping out a location to propose to his girlfriend, Ronny (Vaughn) catches a glimpse of Nick’s (James) wife with another man, and is left faced with the conundrum of whether to expose Geneva’s deceit and sacrifice their big break, or hold off and take the time to pick a more measured next move.

While The Dilemma gleams Hollywood polish, that’s sadly not enough any more, and Ron Howard’s comedy feels lazy when it comes to actually putting the effort in to entertain. There’s definite potential in the concept but the plot fails to develop in the second act before struggling to bring it all back together for the finale.

The cast are effortlessly watchable, as you might expect from a bunch of stars that have worked on numerous productions over the years, but none turn in comedy classic performances. It’s same old, same old from Vaughn, and he seems destined for to play the same character for the rest of his career, though none of the roles really stretch your imagination at all.

Offering a strange mix of slapstick and darker one-liners, there’s an unfortunate lack of jokes that. Those that do come off feel straight out of Vaughn and James’ chemistry, rather than writer Allan Lobe’s script, whom is certainly yet to cover himself in glory after also writing the similarly languid The Switch.

Ronny’s gambling sub-plot, depth into other man, Zip (Tatum) and an entirely pointless Queen Latifa and her ‘lady wood’ only add further unnecessary bulk, and though the film at times plays ill-ease in the right way, the positives are  overshadowed by its misgivings. Hollywood gloss will paper over a few of The Dilemma’s problems but you’ll leave the cinema more feeling indifferent than anything else.


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