Kevin James and Vince Vaughn in The DilemmaHow do you tell your best friend his or her spouse is cheating on them? That’s the question at the heart of The Dilemma – once he finally decides revealing the truth is the only legitimate option. Of course, his approach to the matter is not sane or the choices of an average “real” person, which is why it’s fiction and not based on real events. Nonetheless, Vince Vaughn is the perfect choice to play this crazy romantic.

Since college, confirmed bachelor Ronny (Vaughn) and happily married Nick (Kevin James) have been through thick and thin. Now partners in an auto design firm, the two pals are vying to land a dream project that would launch their company. Ronny’s girlfriend, Beth (Jennifer Connelly), and Nick’s wife, Geneva (Winona Ryder), are by their sides. But Ronny’s world is turned upside down when he inadvertently sees Geneva out with another man (Channing Tatum) and makes it his mission to get answers. As the amateur investigation dissolves into mayhem, he learns that Nick has a few secrets of his own. Now, with the clock ticking and pressure mounting on the biggest presentation of their careers, Ronny must decide what will happen if he reveals the truth to his best friend.

The narrative doesn’t beat around the bush, opting instead to whack you over the head with foreshadowing in the opening scene. The two couples are at dinner when Geneva asks: “How long does it take to really know someone?” Different opinions are given by each character, which more or less defines their actions for the rest of the movie. Nonetheless, it takes some time to get to the meat of the film. Ronny spies Geneva’s tryst early on, but he spends a lot of time contemplating his next move and acting as his friends’ personal paparazzi. In the meantime, all those not in the loop become concerned about his suspicious behaviour.

The secondary plot regarding the invention of an electric engine that can deliver a sound equivalent to a 1960’s muscle car is superfluous. Nick could have been working on any high pressure project, but this allowed them to play with cool cars, such as the new Dodge Charger. In addition, it gave purpose to Queen Latifah’s character and her obsession with “lady wood,” which acts as an awkward comic relief alternative to Vaughn’s antics.

Surprisingly, the most entertaining scenes feature Tatum. There is an amusing physical confrontation between him and Vaughn which results in a lot of damaged property and some dead fish. As a result, we discover Tatum’s Zip is “a sensitive guy.” He is also a lively addition to Ronny’s intervention.

The film does have some laugh out loud moments, and Vaughn and James have good chemistry. Most of the comedy comes from the stupidity of Ronny’s actions, which does get a little tiring, but the other characters eventually break up the monotony. Conversely, there are a few very sweet moments that occur between Ronny and Beth, adding a little romance to a movie about the destruction of a relationship. (Not to mention the “bro love” between the best buds.)

It’s hard to decide on which side of the line I fall on in regards to The Dilemma, but neutral leaning towards okay is better than bad in my books.


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