The Dilemma on DVD

Too dramatic marital comedy or too-silly marital drama?

2/5
(12+) US. Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Winona Ryder

Ha – as if there were only one. Let’s count the dilemmas. Does director Ron Howard retain the dramatic heft of recent fare like Frost/Nixon, or does he sacrifice it for yesteryear’s laughs of Splash? (Neither: the new movie plays like a too-bruising marital comedy or a too-silly marital tragedy). And must Winona Ryder, in order to work, embody hussy after hussy, like this film’s defiantly cheating wife? Vaughn’s character, hip to the infidelity, can’t tell best friend Kevin James about it, lest he divert his concentration from their pending business deal.

Here’s the biggest dilemma of all: how does one remain an unapologetic fan of Vaughn, abrasive though he is, even as his material fails him? To see the actor excel as a similarly tortured Chicago bro in The Break-Up was to notice a smarter way forward. In The Dilemma, there are just two moments: an extended toast about honesty (a masterpiece of rudeness) and a fight with Channing Tatum. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to be in the Vince biz, but his appeal needs to be rethought.

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