The StoryRonny (Vaughn) is a fast-talking salesman who makes a deal with Dodge to deliver an electric motor that replicates the sound of a muscle car. Ronny and his business partner and best friend Nick (James) only have a few days to actually come up with the product, but if they do, it will all but guarantee the success of their company. Kevin's the brains of the operation, however Ronny seems to be in charge of overall operations. And the lack of any actual work leaves Ronny plenty of time to get into mischief.
After a night out with Nick and his wife, Geneva (Ryder), Ronny comes to the conclusion that he finally wants to take his relationship with his long-time girlfriend, Beth (Connelly), to the next level. To do so he'll need to find the perfect spot to pop the question. He decides on a botanical garden but as he's setting things up, he spies Geneva off in the bushes with a studly, tattooed hunk (Tatum) who's definitely not Nick. After falling into the poisonous plants thus ending any chance of using the facility as the venue to propose, Ronny's left with a real...wait for it...dilemma on his hands. Should he tell Nick what he saw? The little angel on his shoulder tells him he absolutely needs to, but the devil points out that by doing so he'd throw Nick off his game and they'd probably lose any hope of signing what could be a multi-million deal with Dodge. Nick needs to concentrate and now's not the time to interrupt his creative process with the news his wife's having an affair.
The ActingTry as they might, neither Vince Vaughn nor Kevin James is able to take Allan Loeb's script and wring more than a few laughs from it. Vaughn brings a lot of energy to the role, but Ronny's an unappealing character who seems set on alienating everyone he meets (making you wonder throughout the film just how he's managed to hang on to his beautiful girlfriend for two years and why Nick continues to work alongside him). James doesn't fare much better as Nick. Nick's not a bad guy, just an extremely boring fellow, and James can't find the right footing in handling the role. And, strangely, Vaughn and James don't have any buddy chemistry.
The women of The Dilemma hold their own, with Ryder in particular getting the chance to sink her teeth into a couple of the film's better scenes. But the most surprising performance of The Dilemma comes from Channing Tatum, an actor we don't often see get to show off his comedy skills. Tatum absolutely steals this film from his co-stars, and had writer Loeb and director Howard found a way to squeeze him in a few more scenes, it wouldn't have saved The Dilemma but it would have made sitting through the film's downer moments a lot less painful.
The Bottom LineThe Dilemma is a strange bird, never quite sure of where it's trying to land and missing the runway more often than not. It's not a comedy, although there are comedic elements to it. It's not a serious examination of relationships, although that's in there too. And it's not a bromance as you'd quite logically assume from the trailers and clips. While there are over-the-top fight sequences, it's not quite action-y enough to be an action comedy. Now not being able to fit it squarely in one box isn't necessarily a problem. Films that mix it up, throw in curveballs and weave in side stories sampling multiple genres work all the time. But The Dilemma just wanders aimlessly through all these many changes in tone, never connecting to any one. Add that to the fact the main character, played by Vaughn, is one of the least likable he's played thus far, and The Dilemma is a disappointing misfire.
The Dilemma was directed by Ron Howard and is rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving sexual content.
Theatrical Release: January 14, 2011