Movie Review: The Dilemma

“The Dilemma” on IMDB

Drama (not a Comedy), 111 Minutes, 2011:

I think my big problem with this is that I sat down to a comedy.  But this isn’t a comedy.  It’s a drama.  The marketing machine that decided to present this in trailers and commercials as a comedy did the film a disservice because people going in expecting to laugh (like I did) are going to be confused and quite possibly pissed off.  It’s a drama.  Oh, to be sure you’ll get some chuckles out of it but it’s a drama.

The biggest issue it faces is that,with the exception of Jennifer Connelly [IMDB], really nobody is likable here.  Vince Vaughn [IMDB] is an often smarmy, emotionally stunted mess and spends most of the movie inexplicably lying to his more than understanding girlfriend.  Kevin James [IMDB] is an unavailable partner with fidelity issues of his own.  His unfaithful wife, Winona Ryder [IMDB], sets the core plot in motion but gets the short, shitty end of the character stick.  For the main part of the movie she comes off as nearly psychopathically self-absorbed.

The plot explores the imposition that unwanted information can put on a friendship and the responsibility that people who care about each other have to one another.  Another strong thread involves the idea of truly knowing people.  Unfortunately some of the circumstances tend to ring false as we explore these concepts with this group of incredibly close, long-term friends.  The whole thing also takes quite a while to actually get up to speed.

On the positive side the movie does have some soul.  The friendship between James and Vaughn seems genuine as does the chemistry between Connelly and Vaughn.  You’ll root for both of these relationships (seemingly more than the movie itself does).  It’s also nice to see Connelly back in form; I’ve always felt she’s been chronically underappreciated.  It’s disappointing that the negatives outweigh the positives but uneven character development and an overly long presentation left me more annoyed than entertained.

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