The Dilemma might look like your typical comedy from the outside, but once you’re comfortably nestled in the seat of your favorite movie theater, you’ll instantly realize you’re in for an epic journey of friendship, desperation and the consequences faced when the truth finally comes out. The Dilemma is comedy done right from the minds of Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Vince Vaughn.
In the brilliant hands of director Ron Howard, The Dilemma explores the ramifications of one person’s infidelity and the impact it has on those closest to them.
Life couldn’t be sweeter for Ronny (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Kevin James). They’re best friends, share an auto-design company and each has a beautiful woman on their arm. But when Ronny spies his best friend’s wife Geneva (Winona Ryder) getting hot and heavy with another guy (Channing Tatum), a chain of events is set into motion that challenges each character’s belief in speaking up or staying out of it.
Vince Vaughn is compelling as The Dilemma’s torn Ronny who has to decide whether or not to tell his best friend Nick that his wife is cheating on him. Now, we will admit, compelling characters are few and far between in comedies, but the little ticks that Vaughn lends to his character are miles from your typical leading funnyman. Ronny is riddled with demons disguising themselves as commitment issues and enjoys his gambling, which deepens the character’s relationship with his onscreen girlfriend Beth (Jennifer Connelly) and challenges Vaughn to dig down into his soul to pull it off — and he does.
Kevin James shines, shedding any thoughts that he’d be the typical sidekick, by portraying a pushed-to-the-limits man from Chicago who just happened to push his wife, Geneva, into the arms of another man.
Winona Ryder rocks!
Speaking of Winona Ryder, she proves in The Dilemma that no matter how few movies she chooses to do in a year, she will always be a force. Ryder takes the cheating character of Geneva from innocent to vindictive to desperate all in one scene. She holds her own scene-for-scene with two of Hollywood’s most talented comedy actors and does it without even blinking.
When a movie stars Vince Vaughn you know it’s going to feature Chicago and there was no way Ron Howard would have pulled this off in a city like Los Angeles or New York. The Dilemma needed a big city with suburban attributes to give not only the characters authenticity but also the story. As a Chicagoan, I felt the instant appreciation for the scenes shot in the Botanical Gardens and the pride in watching hometown boy Vince Vaughn sit alongside Chicago Blackhawks fans while filming a few of The Dilemma’s most important scenes.
The idea that we weren’t seeing a soundstage backdrop or stock footage lent such honesty to a story that transcended typical comedy format.
The Dilemma pairs an all-star cast with the never disappointing stylings of Ron Howard to tell a story of actions and consequences in a way that makes the comedy believable and not overkill. The only qualm The Dilemma could be faulted for is not having a bit more Winona Ryder at the end. Her character deserved a bit more closure but nothing we couldn’t dream up in our minds on the car ride home.
The Dilemma review
Out of five stars…