THE DILEMMA (2011)

TMG Scale 4.5
Starring Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Queen Latifah

Congrats to Director Ron Howard for including brother Clint Howard—as he almost always does in his films, and also putting in his Dad,  Rance Howard.  Family loyalty is a noble and admirable thing. Loyalty of any kind is a noble thing and rare these days.  TMG hates to say it, but this movie was otherwise pretty cheap and stupid.  It also carries a terrible message.

The movie made me laugh quite a bit.  So as a comedy, it gets decent marks.  As a major film with a message, it fails big time.

Good movies raise good questions.  Better movies raise both sides of an issue and do not ram one answer down your throat.  Great movies raise the questions and suggest some answers, but tend to gravitate to moral high ground. Dilemma really screwed up on the latter. It ended in the moral lowlands.

Ronny (Vaughn) and his automotive technology company partner and best friend Nick, (Kevin James) are trying to win a contract with  Chrysler to produce a cool sounding electric car.  The “pitch” scene by Vaughn to the Chrysler execs is pretty funny.  It is the type of humor Vaughn does best.  His relationships are another matter. Vaughn always seems to play a guy in a movie who other guys really don’t like much.   He always seems way  too impressed with himself and his acumen with women.  Playing the moral arbiter of love and marriage is just over the top for him.

Ronny inadvertently sees Nick’s wife Beth  (Jennifer Connelly)  in a romantic encounter with another man.  He decides he must step in and confront  Beth and tell Nick. He gives Beth an ultimatum to act first.  Everyone’s life ends up being ruined along with lots of furniture and a very cool Dodge Challenger.  That is where the movie should have stopped.  Unfortunately,  it takes a Dr. Laura Schlessinger angle and  the story ricochets by suggesting he did the right thing after all.  No he did not. He screwed up a good marriage and lots of lives were ruined.  The movie suggests that as long as he and Nick reunite at a  local hockey game and win their business contract, all is well—that honesty and best friends prevail.  Total nonsense.  It is the same nonsense the likes of Dr. Laura soiled the airwaves for years with her holier than thou disdain for others while her naked photos circulated on the internet.

If you learn your friend is an alcoholic, you may be faced with a dilemma whether to intervene.  If your sister is about to marry a guy you suspect is an abuser, you may be faced with a real dilemma.  If you suspect your police partner may be stealing evidence or planting evidence, you may have a dilemma on your hands.  If you suspect a doctor in your hospital is slipping up and endangering patients,  you may have a dilemma on your hands. If you see your best friend’s wife kissing another man, you stay the heck out of it! You stay ten miles from it.  Adding in a confession to your best friend that you once “did” his wife, (even if on a meaningless drunk binge years before they met,) just to get it off your chest,  is simply the dumbest and cruelest thing ever.  You live with it and keep your mouth shut.  The “honesty” or the coming clean is just far left wing liberal and far right wing bible beating nonsense.  Some secrets should be kept for the better of all.  It is why I absolutely hate  “tell all” books simply because someone feels the need to “set the record straight.”

The fact is, honesty is not always the best policy. It is often not even very kind. You should have no dilemma about this film.  Go see Welcome to the Rileys instead.

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