Movie: 2 stars
Picture: 4 stars
Sound: 4 stars
Extras: 2 stars
What if you saw your best friend’s wife cheating on him? Should you tell him? It’s an interesting premise that might fuel either a dramatic movie or a comedic one. Which one? Director Ron Howard hasn’t solved that dilemma, coming up with a film that isn’t funny enough to be a comedy nor dark enough (in its entirety) to be a drama.
The Dilemma starts innocently enough. Ronny (Vince Vaughn) and his girlfriend, Beth (Jennifer Connelly), are having dinner out with Nick (Kevin James) and his wife, Geneva (Winona Ryder). It’s established that Ronny and Nick are lifelong, best friends. We then learn that they’re also business partners in a company that makes car engines. Ronny is the front man who sells the product; Nick is the genius who comes up with the technology. The two are trying to sell Chrysler an electric motor that will be economical while still having the sound and thrill of a gasoline engine.
When Ronny is checking out a botanical garden as a potential place to propose to Beth, he sees Geneva cavorting in the ferns with a hunky, younger man (Channing Tatum). This is where Ronny and the movie start falling apart. Ronny asks various people what he should do (disguising the identities of Nick and Geneva) and gets more and more psychotic and dangerously violent. And The Dilemma turns downright ugly — too ugly for comfort. I squirmed, and you probably will, too. The movie never regains its footing, even with a feel-good ending.
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