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MOVIE REVIEW: The Dilemma

Your dilemma: Is this movie funny enough?

The Dilemma

The Dilemma

  • The Dilemma
  • The Dilemma
  • The Dilemma
  • (L-R) Winona Ryder as Geneva and Kevin James as Nick Brennan in ``The Dilemma.''
  • The Dilemma
  • (L-R) Winona Ryder as Geneva and Kevin James as Nick Brennan in ``The Dilemma.''
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I’m guessing Anderson Cooper didn’t rush out to see The Dilemma. That’s the movie he griped about having a scene where Vince Vaughn talks about electric cars being “gay.” I’m guessing he’s also happy about the poor reviews the film is receiving, too.

The “electric cars are gay” scene is funny, but you have to wonder: if Vaughn and Kevin James are smart guys (they run their own business, James is an electronic whiz), why are they not smart enough to realize that this probably isn’t the best pitch in a room full of suits?

The video clips that show an electric car and a bunny--perfect. Talking about losing your virginity in the back seat of a GTO and electric cars being gay--not so much.

This is a crazy comedy and you aren’t supposed to realistically look at the film. And that’s a shame because the drama brought up real situations that would be fun to examine.

After everyone saw Indecent Proposal (which wasn’t a very good film), they all wondered if they’d let their spouse sleep with a rich person for $1 million.

I still think a great comedy could be made from that concept. Instead of Robert Redford in a limo, have Danny DeVito show up in a taxi cab offering you the cash. He could be a smart businessman and negotiate the price. I’m sure most couples might consider the offer for $200,000 … but I digress.

If you want to make this a slapstick, crazy comedy with interesting ethical questions and dilemmas--okay. Make it a lot funnier, though.

Yes, there are some funny scenes. If you have Kevin James dancing and Vince Vaughn doing his usual frat-boy partier schtick, some jokes will work.

Sure, you laugh really loud when they do work (one was a fight scene with Vaughn, another involves him waking up in the backseat of a car and telling one of his employees, “Go away! I’m confused right now. I’m waking up and don’t know where I am.”).

Jennifer Connelly is good as the girlfriend, who is trying to deal with Vaughn and his past gambling addiction. Winona Ryder, who we recently saw in Black Swan, has a bigger part here as the wife cheating on James.

There are so many scenes you wish were funnier. There’s a toast Vaughn gives (which shows a funny line in the previews with a cousin who interrupts him). It’s long, dumb and needed a re-write.

Director Ron Howard--who did one of the best comedies ever with Parenthood--is capable of handling comedy; and as usual, he threw his brother Clint in a scene (which is funny).

I’m not sure how he dropped the ball on other aspects, like the flashbacks (when somebody would lie, we’d see the scene recreated in the character's head). One of those worked, the rest didn’t.

The Green Hornet opens this weekend, and in that movie they had a small screen showing the group Anvil, which is a tribute to that great documentary a few years ago. In this, Howard does a neat thing where we see Vaughn grabbing the phone, and three DVDs are near it; all John Hughes movies (I’m guessing he died during the filming).

There’s a scene here that’s also an homage to When Harry Met Sally, but on the opposite end of the spectrum. Ryder is showing Vaughn at a diner how easy it would be to fake cry when denying everything to her husband.

Queen Latifah did her usual crazy character, and in the few scenes she’s in, it worked.

The movie did a decent job of handling questions you normally ask during a movie (why not just call the police, or why not just tell him the truth?).

At one point, my girlfriend leaned over and said, “Is this one big car commercial?”

This movie did bring product placement to an entirely new level.

It’s just a shame that a lot of the drama is trivialized by slapstick and cheesy jokes. The movie isn’t sure if it wants to be a bro-mance or serious film about infidelity.

The final scene at a Chicago Blackhawks game is funny, although it had my movie pet peeve #183. That is when actors are at a sporting event, they’re always wearing the teams jerseys and so are many people around them. It was an entire sea of red as the entire section Vaughn and James were in had Blackhawks jerseys. Now, Cameron--the nerd in Ferris Bueller--wore a hockey jersey. Those are the types that wear jerseys, not Vince Vaughn.

You won’t be bored watching the movie, but you’ll wish it was done better.

I’m giving it a D+.