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The Dilemma

  • Film
  • 2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars
‘The Dilemma’ is a bit of a puzzler. It’s a story about a man (Vince Vaughn) struggling with the suspicion that his best friend and business partner’s (Kevin James) wife (Winona Ryder) is cheating on him, while he tries to keep his relationship with his own girlfriend (Jennifer Connelly) from imploding. It’s basically a chick flick for guys – a picture about emotions, friendships, loyalty and growth in which the men are the prime movers – which is a pretty novel approach for a mainstream studio picture. Any credit for this move, however, is outweighed by the film’s nervy tone and tedious politics: it lacks faith in its story, characters and audience.

It’s clear from the opening scene, in which our two couples bask in mutual bliss, that trouble is on the cards. It’s less clear, however, whether we’ll care. Vaughn’s character veers between smug and obsessive, James’s between tetchy and wet, while the female characters are essentially devices (the patient paragon, the wily deceiver) headed for their just deserts. The script offers more subtle observations on committed relationships but they’re decisively stifled. As if wary of suspicions that all this emotion stuff might be a bit, well, girly, there are also laboured sports motifs, awkward slapstick and punch-ups. The two lead characters’ day job is developing an electric car engine that sounds and feels like a gas guzzler and therefore is not ‘gay’. It’s a shame this closeted movie is too embarrassed by its own tendencies to do them justice.
Written by Ben Walters

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Friday 21 January 2011
  • Duration:118 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Ron Howard
  • Screenwriter:Allan Loeb
  • Cast:
    • Winona Ryder
    • Vince Vaughn
    • Kevin James
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