Talk about royally stretching a concept.
If I were to give you a mild synopsis of The Dilemma I would be committing a few dozen spoiler alert crimes in the first few sentences. You will only be able to appreciate the frivolity of the movie if it is a sluggish Sunday afternoon after an unbelievably taxing week and you happen to be in the mood for a lighthearted comedy.
The movie revolves around Ronny, played by Vince Vaughn, who finds out that his best friend’s wife is cheating on him. Throughout the span of 111 minutes Ronny battles with two issues: a) whether he should tell his best friend Nick — played by Kevin James — about his wife’s hanky panky and b) how must he disclose it if he decides in the affirmative. The only detail that makes the dilemma worthwhile is that the two best friends have been granted a big shot project that could launch their company and Nick, is well, the brains behind the entire project and must not be troubled.
Of course with the prospects of a few million dollars looming over his head, Ronny doesn’t want to jinx his company, though midway through the movie the viewer begins to realise that this is hardly the reason he remains dilemma-tised. Ronny mostly doesn’t want to tell Nick the truth because he doesn’t want to hurt his bestie’s feelings — he wants to protect his friend so badly that Ronny’s own relationship takes a complete U-turn on the to-be-married signal and accelerates towards the sleeping-on-the-couch-zone.
There are moments that would make the most apathetic of viewers want to fling something at Ronny to knock some sense into him which, if nothing else, makes the movie engaging.
Nonetheless, the movie remains true to its genre. If you listen closely, (and try to not get distracted by pretty much everything around you) you will spot moments of spontaneous humour which is probably why Vince Vaughn still gets hired these days. Typical of Vaughn, he manages to entertain his spectators with his bizarre and off the wall ideas. Kevin James too, is able to execute his much rehearsed character of a perpetually-panic-struck individual with perfection which almost feels like a trip down Hitch memory lane. Jennifer Connelly’s rather docile role was the biggest disappointment, and the He’s Just Not That Into You actress left no mark on my neurons whatsoever. A special mention in all this must go to the cheating wife’s character, Geneva, played by Winona Ryder. Geneva is responsible for pretty much all of the twists and turns in the movie, resulting in frequent gasps and smirks. Her character keeps The Dilemma from being a typical comedy-drama and gives the movie a unique disposition if nothing else.
The Dilemma is a classic example of good ingredients and a bad recipe. The actors play their part, look fairly well kept and try to bring their respective characters to life, but with an overly prolonged plot and a delayed climax the movie just isn’t up to snuff.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, July 10th, 2011.