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The Dilemma - Blu-ray Movie Review

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the Dilemma Blu-ray Review


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2 stars

There was a time when a Ron Howard film meant something; a mark of quality, a stroke of genius. The man has an incredible amount of talent and an incredible amount of films under his belt, but – in the last ten years or so – his star has dimmed a bit and his directorial works are grossly uneven in quality: some achieve near brilliance (Frost/Nixon), others, well, not so much (Angels & Demons). The Dilemma, his first intentional comedy since 2000’s unforgivably grating How The Grinch Stole Christmas, continues in that recent line of disappointing releases.

Combining marital affairs with need-to-do business tactics is somewhat of a tricky thing – especially in a comedy. The two ideas aren’t easy dramatics, yet that’s the territory of Allan Loeb’s script (who previously penned the massive snoozefest that was Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps).  Ronny Valentine (Vince Vaughn) and Nick Brannen (Kevin James) are best buds and business partners.  Currently, their partnership rests on the shoulders of a business deal that needs to go down, yet Ronny discovers something about Nick’s wife, Geneva (Winona Ryder). She’s having an affair with a crazy man named Zip (Channing Tatum). At the same time, Ronny is trying to figure out how to propose to his girlfriend Beth (Jennifer Connelly). The dilemma is pretty obvious.  Does Ronny tell Nick or not?  And at what risk to his business? Hid friendship?

The balancing act of serious themes with comedic moments doesn’t always work. Not everyone can pull an Apatow. Unfortunately, only the women involved with this production understand how to work that balancing act. They, Ryder and Connelly, are fantastic in this feature. Their turns on-screen are fun and dramatic and extremely satisfying – unlike their male counterparts. Even Queen Latifah – I was surprised, too - puts forth a good comedic effort.

The men, who really need to deliver for this film to float, simply don’t provide the buoyancy. While James can pull some faint goofiness from time-to-time with pratfalls, he can’t always land the gravitas needed for the semi-serious role he finds himself in. Vaughn is, well, Vaughn (still mooching off his Swingers role) and if you are a fan of his brand of talking-and-talking-and-talking comedy then you will be pleased with his banal performance in the film. If not a fan, then I would strongly suggest you skip this one because his mouth is all over the film and it’s mostly been-there and done-that material. He’s just not as fresh as he once was.

Loeb has simply filled his screenplay with too much insincere connective tissue to make sense in the real world it desperately wants to represent. Everything and every one is related in some way which just rings false from the start. Ronny has a past relationship with Geneva and Geneva’s affair threatens his business and so on. The multiple scenarios of The Dilemma are so loaded that when it putters out and misfires, it practically catches the entire picture on fire.

And where is Howard? None of the director’s typical flares ignite on-screen here. It’s as if he wants to disappear behind the camera with this…which, in my experience with Howard, is somewhat unusual for the visual filmmaker. His stuff is easily recognizable because he is quite good at visually telling a story with a camera lens. Is he just buying his time until he starts The Dark Tower?  Is he hoping this simple comedy will be a moneymaker? Something that will help him realize The Dark Tower as he imagines it?

Wherefore art thou, Howard?

Truly, that’s the real dilemma of this film.

{2jtab: Film Details}

the Dilemma - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving sexual content.
: Ron Howard
: Allan Loeb
Vince Vaughn; Kevin James; Jennifer Connelley; Winona Ryder; Channing Tatum
: Comedy
Memorable Movie Quote:
"I just saw my best friend's wife with another man"
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date: January 12, 2010
Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available

Plot Synopsis: Vince Vaughn and Kevin James headline an all-star comedy from director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer about a man who finds out that what you don’t say to a friend is just as important as what you do.  Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum and Queen Latifah join them in The Dilemma, a story of how far you can bend a brotherly bond before it snaps.

Since college, confirmed bachelor Ronny (Vaughn) and happily married Nick (James) have been through thick and thin.  Now partners in an auto design firm, the two pals are vying to land a dream project that would launch their company.  With Ronny’s girlfriend, Beth (Connelly), and Nick’s wife, Geneva (Ryder), by their sides, they’re unbeatable.

But Ronny’s world is turned upside down when he inadvertently sees Geneva out with another man and makes it his mission to get answers.  As the amateur investigation dissolves his world into comic mayhem, he learns that Nick has a few secrets of his own.  Now, with the clock ticking and pressure mounting on the biggest presentation of their careers, Ronny must decide how and when he will reveal the truth to his best friend.

{2jtab: Blu-ray/DVD Review}

the Dilemma Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
2 stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
3 Stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - May 3, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS 5.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); BD-Live; Mobile features



  • Unfortunately, there is none.

Special Features:

  • Alternate Ending (HD; 5:34)
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Introduction by Director Ron Howard (HD; 44:39)
  • Gag Reel (HD; 4:42)
  • This is The Dilemma (HD; 13:45).
  • Tour Chicago (HD; 12:17)
  • On Ice (HD; 4:48)
  • BD Live and pocket BLU enabled

{2jtab: Trailer}




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