Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: The Dilemma (2011) TH

To look the other way, or speak up

This is a dramedy about a man with a burden weighing down on his shoulders from what he feels is an obligation to a tight knit friend and business partner. If you seen something not directly affecting you but that would cause grief to a buddy, would you look the other way or make it your own business? That's what "The Dilemma" is about: being caught in a Catch 22 with consideration for both sides of the argument as no one might come out the winner, both the offender and the offended, not to mention you as the messenger.

Ronny Valentine (Vince Vaughn) and Nick Brannen (Kevin James) have a complimenting partnership: the smooth talker and the technical guy. They both are looking for an automotive company to use their engine prototype. Except, things aren't yet figured out with the final details on their end and there's a deadline to prove themselves, otherwise it's make it or break it. If it wasn't enough with stress and potential failure on the line, one of their significant others is cheating on them and one of the friends accidentally saw it. The witness can't seem to find the right time to tell the other and things start to pile up and take a toll on their own relationship with their significant other.

"The Dilemma" has a little fun and awkward humor to take out the sting of serious subjects. It has a few layers to scratch, though nothing that would leave a permanent impression like "Unfaithful" also about partners sneaking off. It shifts between easy entertainment of the exaggerated type and weighty issues of the real kind, which gives it some high points and others that fizzle down as the tone becomes more personal and conscientious. Sometimes it doesn't know what it wants to be and doesn't contain the smoothest balance of drama and comedy, but the structure at least attempts to build itself up with piling dilemmas that can play into either or. Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder do their parts as best they can but feel like chess pieces in the script for the main players. Kevin James feels underused and keeps it more serious by playing a guy with a skill-set and anxiety from the pressures of the job. Vaughn is where the humor portion comes in but if you seen his other pictures over the last decade you can count on him to play the same consistent persona: the persuasive word fumbler who spews enough hyperbole to start his own religion.

Director: Ron Howard (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Code)
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Winona Ryder, Jennifer Connelly
Website: IMDB