The Dilemma

28 02 2011


The trailer for The Dilemma quickly establishes the situation: one man catches his best friend’s wife with another man, and on the eve of a major business presentation, must decide whether or not to inform him. The trailer also presents The Dilemma as hilarious and fun, of which it is neither.

The script crawls from one lengthy, humourless scene to another throughout its hefty 110 minute running time. However, that’s not to say that it would be any better if it was a half hour shorter.

While the movie boasts some big names such as Vince Vaughn and Kevin James, even they can’t save this plot. Through a series of obvious scenes and speeches, we clearly see the pair’s brotherly love, yet we are given no reason to care about it. Without this relationship, the entire movie becomes meaningless.

The Dilemma could have been slightly redeemed if it had some good laughs, or an interesting supporting character, but it does not even have that. Instead, it relies on slapstick humour and lifeless performances by its four main cast members.

What are we watching?

For some unknown reason, The Dilemma also tries to be a serious movie. Ronny (Vince Vaughn) is dealing with a gambling addiction, which has little consequence on the script, and Nick (Kevin James) is far from faithful in his marriage.

Ron Howard’s direction unnecessarily accentuates the ‘serious’ aspects of the film. There is no reason that so much of the movie has to take place at night or in dark rooms. Whatever the reasoning was behind this, it makes The Dilemma even more depressing.

While it is easy to blame the actors, the real problem is in the script. The second half of the movie is pointlessly long, and most of the audience will discover the solution to ‘The Dilemma’ long before the characters realize it. For what is marketed as a comedy, there are too many painful, sombre scenes from which no humour could possibly be derived.

As the trailer showed, there was potential for a funny movie here, but it gets lost along the way. If The Dilemma was trying to be the worst movie of 2011 thus far, then it has succeeded.  It never makes up its mind as to whether it is a drama or a comedy, and ends up failing as both. The only ‘Dilemma’ is whether to leave the theatre early or not.