Is a comedy a comedy if there are no jokes? Is a comedy a comedy if no one laughs? These questions are the unintended side effects of Ron Howard's The Dilemma, the Vince Vaughn/Kevin James "something" that was recently released to DVD.
The Dilemma stars Vaughn as Ronny Valentine, who one day discovers that his best friend's wife (Winona Ryder) is being unfaithful. Torn between telling his friend and ruining his life and keeping silent, Ronny becomes increasingly desperate - and also paranoid about his relationship with his own girlfriend (Jennifer Connelly).
The movie is one of those films that should have never been made. It's a no-win story, a film that no matter how well written it is will leave a bitter taste in the audience's mouth. The Dilemma is a dark comedy that is neither very funny nor very dark; it becomes lost in between, a limbo where movies that can't decide what they want to be go to die.
The core premise is sound, but Ron Howard and writer Allan Loeb fail to complement it with the right content. The picture isn't poorly written, but what's written isn't entertaining. The movie suggests that the story will descend into truly dark comedy, but it never gets there; the filmmakers pull back at all the wrong moments.
The Dilemma does improve significantly in the third act as the various subplots converge and things finally boil over. Unfortunately, the audience has to slog through two acts with very little redeemable value.
The Dilemma finally gets better toward the end, but it's a comedy that isn't funny or even entertaining. In other words, not recommended.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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