Film Review: The Dilemma

In the alternate universe of The Dilemma, Kevin James is married to Winona Ryder. Even if you can accept this, you may not be able to endure this mess of a film.

Friends since college, Nick and Ronny work together and spend time together, along with Nick’s wife Geneva and Ronny’s girlfriend Beth. When Ronny catches Geneva in a compromising position, he is torn over whether to tell his best friend or not…

The Dilemma suffers from a number of problems which impede the audience’s enjoyment. Firstly, it is difficult to identify the tone of the film. The Dilemma is not a riotous comedy, nor is it a credible drama. The film flits between a few moments of mild amusement and periods of sentimentalism. It is unclear what the film is trying to achieve, and indeed who it is aimed at.

Most significantly, however, is the fact that the film is incredibly boring for large parts. With a running time of 111 minutes, The Dilemma sometimes feels three times as long. A large part of the blame can be attributed to the lacklustre screenplay. Ronny’s indecision about how to handle the situation is played out for too long. Coupled with this is a script that often descends into corny dialogue between Ronny and Nick. Given how long Ronny wrestles with his uncertainty, it is difficult to summon the will to care about the impact of the revelation.

The Dilemma is a film concerned with a woman’s infidelity, among other things. However, another related incident comes to light part way through the movie. Although this is of a similar stature to Geneva’s cheating, it is merely swept under the carpet. There seems to be a blatant double standard in this regard, which leaves a sour taste.

Although it is nice to see Winona Ryder with a bigger role in a mainstream movie, it is just a shame that the project is this dire. The casting is highly questionable; Geneva and Nick supposedly met in college, yet she looks much younger than him. The talents of Jennifer Connelly are also wasted in The Dilemma. Vince Vaughn offers his usually shtick; the promise of his early years now fading rather. Channing Tatum is amusing with an over the top performance that is responsible for a number of the film’s laughs.

Ron Howard is a competent director, yet The Dilemma appears pretty sloppy work. The music is one of the few positives that the film offers. Overall, The Dilemma does not provide sufficient heart or enough laughs to make it a worthwhile watch.

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