Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson
Lying in the Bible
Adultery in the Bible
TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer
Is formalized marriage becoming obsolete? Answer
Many people are convinced that traditional marriages don’t work and that this practice should be abandoned. What does the Bible say about marriage?
|Featuring:||Channing Tatum (Zip), Winona Ryder (Geneva Backman), Jennifer Connelly, Vince Vaughn (Ronny Valentine), Kevin James (Nick Backman), Queen Latifah (Dana), more »|
|Producer:||Imagine Entertainment, Spyglass Entertainment, Wild West Picture Show Productions, Brian Grazer, more »|
Traditionally, the month of January is considered a dumping ground for bad movies. Movie studios will produce films, and realize after production that they have little to no confidence in the film they have just produced. When this realization comes, they make room for that film in January. These movies open to weak box office receipts while Oscar® hopefuls from December continue to play well. It’s for this reason that when I saw a film featuring two Oscar® winners plus an Oscar® winning director scheduled for a January release, I should have known better. Ron Howard’s “The Dilemma” is an uninspiring movie that earns its spot in the month of January.
Ronny and Nick are best of friends, as well as business partners. Friends since college, they spend a great deal of time together. As a result, their female companions are, also, close. Nick is married to his college sweetheart, Geneva. Ronny is seriously in love with his girlfriend Beth, and because of the positive impression of marriage he sees in his best friend Nick, he’s thinking of proposing to Beth. This ideal world comes crashing down when Ronny spots Geneva with another man, meaning that his best friend’s wife is being unfaithful. From this point forward, “The Dilemma” refers to Ronny’s dilemma—how to tell his best friend the bad news. A few more secrets are revealed along the way, making it more difficult for Ronny to get the truth out, resulting in a tough situation for both couples.
My father used to always say, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” That saying is a very good description of “The Dilemma”. There seems to be a disconnect between what we are seeing on screen and what the creators of the film were attempting to do. There are a few funny parts, and a few dramatic parts, but the movie never settles into a rhythm, and thus comes off as either a mostly unfunny comedy or an underdeveloped drama. The creators of the film were probably going for a portrayal of real life, but instead they get something far from it. “The Dilemma” is a film without a singular goal; it successfully aims at nothing and hits it dead on.
While the plot and writing is all a bit slipshod, “The Dilemma” is filmed and acted with expertise. Legendary director Ron Howard is known for being a master of many genres, with his excellent work in films like “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind”, and “Cinderella Man”. Howard brings his excellent eye to the project, but he cannot do much to help the storyline or the script. It’s a wonder why Howard signed on for this film, in the first place.
Acting in “The Dilemma” is exactly what you would expect from the caliber of talent on display. The leading ladies are Oscar® winners Winona Ryder as Geneva and Jennifer Connelly as Beth. Ryder and Connelly both have scenes where they showcase their abilities, even if much of it is in vain. Kevin James (“Paul Blart: Mall Cop”) plays Nick, and is fine in his role, but is kept away from his forté of physical comedy. Vince Vaughn (“Wedding Crashers”, “Old School”) plays Ronny and delivers, well, a Vince Vaughn performance. You’re either a fan of Vaughn’s shtick or you’re not, but you know that you’ll get a performance that includes fast, improvisational dialogue.
“The Dilemma” is rated PG-13 and falls within the boundaries of that rating. There is some heavy language, that includes but is not limited to 2 F-words, and multiple uses of the Lord’s name in vain. There is one sex scene viewed through a window that includes male rear nudity. The film is, also, peppered with sexual dialogue, most of it coming from a supporting role played by Queen Latifah, and the laughs she is supposed to get are nonexistent.
Within this mess of a film, the core message is, as you might have surmised, one of honesty. Through the various secrets kept by each character in “The Dilemma”, the viewer learns that in each situation, the best plan of action was 100% honesty. Each time a character tries to lie or tell a partial truth, it ends poorly for him or her. This is a message that is rarely seen in a movie geared toward adults.
Great directing, great acting, and a solid message should equal a must-see movie, right? Unfortunately, that isn’t the case with “The Dilemma”. Instead of building on a solid foundation, the film just gets messier as it goes along, ultimately leaving the viewer out in the cold. There is no dilemma here, save your money this January.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.