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Ronny (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Kevin James) are on the verge of a motoring break through. Their small business has the capability of making electric cars feel and sound like muscle cars and the pressure is on to prove it. However when Ronny spots Nick’s wife Geneva (Winona Ryder) kissing another man (Channing Tatum), Ronny has a dilemma. Does he tell his best friend?

Dilemma, The
Let’s get the obvious bit out of the way first. Yes. He should tell his best friend. There is no dilemma here other than the forced predicament the plot puts us in for the sake of actually having a movie. I won’t hold it against Ron Howard’s return to more light hearted fare but structurally speaking there isn’t enough of a counter argument against telling Nick about his wife until way later in the movie when Geneva starts playing the bitch card to save her own neck. Because of this The Dilemma feels a little bit too thinly spread and for a good forty minutes the forced drama of this apparent dilemma isn’t all that fun to watch.

Despite Vaughn’s usual talkative bullshitter persona leading the way and having so-called comedian Kevin James to play off of, The Dilemma isn’t what I expected. It’s not near funny enough to be considered a good comedy and the drama consistently serious enough for it to be considered a success in that genre either. Weirdly the movie sort of hovers between the two arenas and because of that jokes that would be funnier elsewhere fall noticeably flat and some of the deeper moments feel a little shoe horned in.

Dilemma, The
That said by about the hour mark I began to warm to the movie a bit more. There’s a nice scene where Ronny asks for God’s help while sitting alone at a bus stop that I thought worked well and warmed me to character a bit more. Seeing Jennifer Connelly on fun mode always puts a smile on my face and she looks damn good doing it as well. Weirdly I thought Channing Tatum stole the show in his relatively small role. His emotional drug addled fight with Ronny was peppered with genuine chuckles and he seemed totally out for laughs. In fact in flashes he reminded me of when Brad Pitt started to get more playful with roles around the Twelve Monkeys period, so who knows what’s next from this guy? Hopefully some good stuff.

For a movie that feels like it’s Ron Howard taking a lighter project between his previous big screen thriller Angels and Demons and upcoming The Dark Tower project, I was a bit disappointed that The Dilemma didn’t live up to some of his earlier career comedy/drama highlights like Gung Ho or Nightshift. It’s not that The Dilemma is a bad movie,  all of the elements work for the most part, it just feels like it’s struggling to be like the Apatow stuff in the market without actually pulling off the balance between comedy and drama like so much more out there does.

Dilemma, The

Video


The transfer here is a strange one. You can tell by the lighting and look of the movie it will no doubt look brilliant in HD but here on DVD it looks pretty bad. The warmth to the image is sort of effective but it seems to cause super deep blacks that make almost every scene look darker than it should.

The overall look is super soft with wider shots really suffering on the detail front. Close ups are a bit better but there seems to be a texture to the image that isn’t anything to do with grain. It’s odd and hard to describe but the image just looks sort of gritty and it hides textures beneath it giving the entire image a flat feel with no sense of depth or detail. This really does feel like a half assed transfer for a movie that looks like it could be quite pretty to look at.

Dilemma, The

Audio


Frontal is the key word here. It’s like any and all sound has been forced to stay in the front speakers. Dialogue sits in the middle, music in the left and right and there’s a total disregard of the rear speakers, until one or two bongo drum beats appear behind you in the second half of the movie.

There are no noticeable atmospherics really, everything feels confined and straight forward and it was one of the blandest tracks I’d heard for a while (though I have just come out of reviewing Apocalypse Now so pretty much anything this middle of the road was going to pale in comparison).

Dilemma, The

Extras


The ‘Alternative Ending’ is the Vince and Jennifer scene but it doesn’t end with a wedding ring. The deleted scenes, of which there are seven, come with a fifty second introduction from Ron Howard, whose upbeat nature always makes things seem more fun.

The gag reel (04:43) isn’t all that funny and wrapping up extras we get ‘This is the Dilemma’ (13:47) a straight forward EPK in which Ron tells us Brian Grazer posed the question “what would you do if you saw your best friend’s wife kissing another man?” and it sparked a thirty minute discussion that led to this movie. Clearly no one answered “tell him the next time you see him”.

Dilemma, The

Overall


I can see The Dilemma is a weak movie but I still warmed to it by the end. It’s thanks largely to the cast, who admittedly are still far from at their best but they all provided enough for me to go along with this forced predicament that I can’t work out if it was expanded too much or not explored enough. Either way The Dilemma could have wrapped up in about twenty minutes due to its lack of presenting a real dilemma, so if you like putting up with forced plot devices to stretch an idea out while never really being all that funny, a rental might be an idea.


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