Now Playing Review – The Dilemma

The Dilemma is aptly named for what takes place during these 2 hours of movie time.  I know what you’re thinking: “What!? A movie title that somehow represents the movie itself!? That’s unheard of!”  Shh… I bat your sarcasm away.  Yes, the film is named for the obvious dilemma in the plot itself, but unfortunately the film is marred by the other dilemmas that occurred on the filmmaking end, creating a pretty mediocre end result.

So here’s the obvious: girl and guy codes aside, when you see the significant other of your best friend cheating on them should you or should you not tell them? This is the question that Ronny faces when he sees Nick’s wife with another man, and though he wants to tell him, plenty of variables get thrown into the mix making it harder for Ronny to just come out and break the bad news.

And this is where the problem lies.  Though this is a highly debatable topic, turns out it in itself really can’t be the basis of an entire film. Either he tells him or he doesn’t.  At first it is fine because Ronny is able to work through the obvious points as to why it is the duty of a friend to be the messenger whether or not it leads to his death, but once it is found that maybe Nick has to know, suddenly something happens in which he maybe shouldn’t know just yet.  And then something else, and then something else…

Which is where the filmmaking dilemma lies: What can we do to push off the inevitable end for as long as possible?  In this case, apparently the answer is piling on a bunch of smaller problems onto the main problem until it loses focus to its variables.  Personally, I know what excited me towards watching this film was the paring up of two great comedians in Vince Vaughn and Kevin James.  Each has his own personality and sure Vince Vaughn seems to replay his Wedding Crashers character for a bit at first, but they do have some fun while they are just being buddies pre-wrench thrown in.  And suddenly their time together seems to be non-existent.  Maybe it was just because it is too challenging to frame them within the same shot considering most times they are seen together Vaughn’s feet and the top of his head have been cut off, but instead of having scenes in which we get treated to Vaughn uncomfortable squirming because of his inability to say anything to James while in the scene with him (as we see early on), instead he ventures out on solitary missions to sort everything out on his own.  Which leads to it getting to the point in which what they do have together feels forced just to satisfy the want of this paring.

In addition to the story never really finding its focus as it continues to branch further and further away from the main problem, the film also never really finds its tone.  A lot of the comedy is toned down and kept to the dialog (be prepared to sit through a lot of tennis matches as the camera uninterestingly jumps back and forth between two characters in a conversation), and the main four characters seem pretty calm in their comedy (which is no surprise for Connelly, who continues to have the presence of an Oscar worthy actress among the others) when you would assume that Vaughn and James would be the most heightened.  Instead the most extreme roles are given to two of the smaller characters.  Surprisingly enough, the actor that stole the film for me was Channing Tatum, who is given one of the bigger characters in terms of in-your-face humor, where as on the other hand Queen Latifah is completely wasted in a role that is given a few laugh-worthy lines, all the while being completely unnecessary to the story.

Though I found myself laughing on and off throughout the entirety of the film, in the end the story is unnecessarily drawn out by throwing in plenty of random side issues into the main problem that gives the film its name.  It continues to have trouble finding its tone, and as it loses focus on its own story, I’m sad to say that so did I.

Final Grade: C

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