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Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Dilemma

My second new Channel24 review of the week. Now, this one I have some pretty major problems with. Sadly, this is only the beginning of an onslaught of pretty awful movies coming your way soon.

From Channel24.co.za (Originally published 3 March 2011)


What it's about
Just as his own relationship with his girlfriend is heating up, Ronny (Vince Vaughn) discovers that his best friend’s wife (Winona Ryder), is cheating on him.

What we thought
The basic question that lies at the heart ofThe Dilemma is what you would do if you found out the partner of your best friend was being unfaithful to him/her. It is, I suppose, an interesting moral question with no easy answers. One thing you wouldn't do, though, is base a film on that conundrum. Certainly not in the way The Dilemma has gone about it. 

After the fun but rubbish Angels and Demons, it would be nice to think that director Ron Howard would bounce back with something a lot better. After all, he followed up The Da Vinci Code with the excellent Frost/Nixon. Sadly, it looks like we'll have to wait a bit longer for another good Ron Howard movie.
 
The film basically fails on two major levels. Firstly, the script is just a complete mess. Comedy dramas are clearly hard to pull off successfully but The Dilemma is a particularly bad example of the genre. The comedy completely undermines the believability of the drama, as it has its characters become increasingly "comedic" but also inauthentic in their behaviour. 

As for the comedy side of the equation, it's let down by being rather limp  and is done no favours by the sudden shifts of tone towards the more dramatic. There's also this whole other bit, involving the two protagonist's attempt to create a new kind of electric car, which feels like an entirely different movie altogether – especially with Queen Latifah's character constantly going for some very strange and out-of-place bawdy humour.

And then there is Vince Vaughn. The rest of the cast actually fare pretty well with Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum and, especially, Jennifer Connelly doing their best with a fairly naff script. Even Kevin James is perfectly OK as he once again proves to be a likeable screen presence, even if he very seldom brings the laughs. 

Vince Vaughn, though, is something else. I don't quite know how or when it happened but his once hilarious, smarmy, fast-talking schtick has suddenly gotten very old and very, very irritating. Think his performance in Couples Retreat in comparison to his performance inWedding Crashers. Sadly the downward spiral of the abysmal Couples Retreat shows no sign of slowing down with The Dilemma.

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