Title: The Dilemma
Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Vince Vaughn, Kevin James and Winona Ryder
Vince Vaughn seems to have a dilemma on his hands. Throughout his comedic career, Vaughn has risen to popularity by starring in successful bromance movies that focus on the “man code,” including ‘Old School’ and ‘Wedding Crashers.’ He hopes to add his latest comedy, ‘The Dilemma,’ co-starring Kevin James, to that list. But unfortunately, at the age of 40, the non-committal, man-child role that Vaughn has repeatedly played throughout his career has seemed to have lost its appeal.
Since ‘The Dilemma’s advertising first started, the movie has also caused nothing but trouble for director Ron Howard, who has earned fame for directing numerous award-winning dramas, including ‘Apollo 13′ and ‘Frost/Nixon.’ Even though he reunited with his ‘A Beautiful Mind’ star Jennifer Connelly and paired her with comedic favorites Vaughn and James, Howard received backlash after the film’s first trailer included a negative use of the word gay. Plus, even though he has thrived with his dramatic projects over the past decade, ‘The Dilemma’s inane take on such mature topics of infidelity and gambling addiction only remind audiences why Howard’s last comedic effort, ‘EDtv,’ flopped in 1999.
‘The Dilemma’ follows best friends Ronny Valentine (played by Vaughn) and Nick Backman (portrayed by James), who are partners in an auto design firm. They’re trying to create and sell an environmentally-friendly engine for muscle cars. After Ronny inadvertently sees Nick’s wife Geneva (played by Winona Ryder) kissing another man, Zip Hanson (portrayed by Channing Tatum), he struggles over whether or not he should tell Nick, as he’s already stressed out about finishing their project on time.
Ronny’s silence, however, affects his relationship with his girlfriend Beth (played by Connelly). Beth feels that Ronny may have fallen off the wagon and started gambling again, and becomes upset that he doesn’t discuss what’s bothering him with her.
The combination of Vaughn, James and Howard alone should have guaranteed that ‘The Dilemma’ would be a success. But the screenplay, which was written by Allan Loeb, proves he is better at writing dramas, such as his previous efforts ‘21′ and ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.’ Loeb included the same redundant jokes and gags for Vaughn and James that were featured in their previous works, and didn’t create any range for them to become creative and original.
One such recycled theme was Nick’s insecurities of always being the outsider and not being accepted, as seen in his roles in ‘Hitch’ and his television series ‘The King of Queens.’ Most of ‘The Dilemma’s plot focuses on Ronny’s need to protect Nick’s feelings. As a result, Vaughn is unable to develop Ronny’s maturity of wanting to do right by his company and Beth.
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