• The Dilemma

    Released By: Universal
    Released On: 05/03/2011
    Director: Ron Howard
    Cast: Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Winona Ryder, Jennifer Connelly, Queen Latifah

    The Film:

    I think that Vince Vaughn is funny. I can watch that cat act like a jackass all damn day and still laugh. Some people say that he’s a one-note wonder, and that he’s not acting. Those people may be right. Others say that there’s nothing funny about him. Those people are probably wrong. Vince Vaughn with a decent script and some solid actors to play off is one of the funniest things in comedy since we lost John Candy. He’s come a long way since Swingers, but he’s still nothing short of awesome.

    Thankfully, in The Dilemma, a comedy directed by Ron Howard, Vince is absolutely hilarious. Vaughn plays Ronny Valentine, an entrepreneur salesman type working in the car industry, while Kevin James (King of Queens) plays Nick, his partner and best friend since college. After being matched and made by Nick and his wife Geneva (Winona Ryder) to their friend Beth (Jennifer Connelly), Ronny finds himself in a bit of a situation, a “dilemma”, if you will, when he witnesses Geneva cheating on Nick with grubby musician hipster Zip (Channing Tatum). The dilemma is, of course, whether or not to tell Nick about Geneva’s cheating ways, especially when Geneva’s assurances that her extra-marital affair is over prove to be lies.

    Adding to the stress of this pickle, this “dilemma” is the fact that Ronny and Nick have a multi-million dollar proposal on the table with a major automobile manufacturer, Geneva’s threats to let a certain old cat out of the bag if the truth comes to light, and Ronny’s potential engagement to Beth, not to mention his history as a compulsive gambler; and Zip’s penchant for popping Oxycontin and waving around his Glock. Being that this is a Ron Howard film, you can pretty much guess the heart-felt outcome, but there’s a bit of a rollercoaster ride getting there.

    Ron Howard IS really the only flaw in this film, and he’s really not a great big unnoticeable flaw; just when the film starts to turn into an out-and-out comedy, you’ll notice the hand of Opie reigning everyone back into more of a cookie-cutter formula. The pacing suffers as a result, as Ron attempts to give the characters a bit more development than they maybe need. He can’t really be faulted for wanting to develop character, but all we really need for a film like this is Vince Vaughn as funny friend, sympathetic smaller and less funny friend, confused fiancé, and bitchy, cheating wife. The film definitely could’ve been tightened up a bit, but in Howard’s defence, it is a very funny film, one of his first comedies in years, and I liked it quite a bit more than his other more recent titles. And, of course, you never know how much of that should get placed on the head of Writer Allan Loeb, still relatively new to large-budget screenwriting.

    Everything else about this film, namely the acting, is superb. Winona Ryder, who I last saw in that film about ballet that I was bored silly by, is so strong in this, it reminds me of how much I used to enjoy her performances in the 80’s and early 90’s. Kevin James, who I’m not too familiar with, is also very amusing in this as more of the straight man, and Jennifer Connelly, though limited in her screen time, shines during the time that she’s on. The real surprise here, however, is Channing Tatum, who almost steals the show as Geneva’s dirty secret, Zip. To give away too much would be to spoil the film, but the showdown between Tatum and Vaughn is side-splittingly comedic. In this day and age, with good comedies so few and far between, The Dilemma is a welcome breath of nitrous oxide. Get it? It’s laughing gas.


    The first thing that I noticed with Universal’s blu-ray release of The Dilemma is that de-activating your player’s ability to access the internet will cut down on the load time significantly. There’s a somewhat disturbing trend that’s been occurring to have the most current previews shown before a film by having the disc access the net, and it’s not a welcome trend. THAT being said, the film comes in beautiful 2.35:1 transfer, and the picture is very solid, with a good balance of colour and deep black levels. There are no visual issues to speak of, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track fairs equally as well with a strong dynamic range and bass response with some moderate use of the surrounds.

    The first extra feature is an Alternate Ending which is lame. But at least it’s on there. Watching this ending, I had no idea why it was included, but maybe this film will be a classic in 50 years and nobody will complain about the mystery ending that Ron Howard shot that doesn’t exist except in stills.

    Next up are a whopping 45 minutes of Deleted Scenes, with an introduction by Ron Howard. The introduction is nice because even though I’m not a big fan of a lot of his films, Howard seems like a genuinely nice guy, and watching the intro made me feel kind of happy. Anyway, you’ve got your choice of 14 scenes here, that Ron explains in his intro were basically cut for pacing reasons. Good idea, the film would’ve been about 2 and a half hours long otherwise.

    A Gag Reel is included, but isn’t nearly as funny as a gag reel with these actors should be. Still worth watching, but not as funny as some of the Vaughn/Favreau gag reels that I’ve seen.

    This is the Dilemma runs about 14 minutes and is made up of interviews with the cast and Ron Howard as they discuss the origin of the film, the characters, and the locations that they shot in, with clips from the film and set footage scattered throughout.

    Tour Chicago is an interactive extra that allows you to click on some of the locations that were used in the Windy City, and learn more about the location, or the set building that took place to…build the set. It’s interesting, but the inability to fast forward or pause or use your remote at all while the video is playing is a little frustrating.

    On Ice is a piece that runs almost 5 minutes, and discusses filming in Chicago’s infamous United Center arena. Howard, Vaughn and James are on hand to talk about it, along with a few well-known hockey players.

    The My Scenes bookmark extra that I’ve never known anyone to use rounds out the extras menu.

    The Final Word:

    The problem with a lot of comedy films these days is that they aren’t funny. This one is. Worth seeing, and this presentation is a good way to do that, with some great extras.
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Steve gave this one 3.5/4 paws because it made him ROTFLMAO. For real. Ever see a dachshund do that???
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      I tend to not go out of my way to watch comedies, but you've convinced me to give this one a go. I too think Vince Vaughn is funny, has great timing when given good material.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I liked it, despite the things that I mentioned. That Channing Tatum guy is fucking hilarious.