Bad mixture of comedy, drama the real 'Dilemma'

Ronnie (Vince Vaughn) debates telling his best friend Nick (Kevin James) about his cheating wife in "The Dilemma" (Photo courtesy of
Ronnie (Vince Vaughn) debates telling his best friend Nick (Kevin James) about his cheating wife in "The Dilemma" (Photo courtesy of

By Tim Angerame
Staff Writer
The Dilemma
-Two and a half stars out of four

Finding out that your best friend is unknowingly being cheated on is a terrible situation. What you thought was a happy and successful relationship is actually flawed, and you find out things that you wish you didn’t know about each person. Could director Ron Howard with the help of Vince Vaughn and Kevin James make it, well, you know, funnier?
Vince Vaughn and Kevin James play business partners and best friends Ronnie Valentine and Nick Brannen, respectively. Ronnie and Nick, with the help of Dodge executive Susan Warner (Queen Latifah), plan to take the automotive industry by storm with an electric motor that has the power and sound of a fuel combustion motor. Nick is happily married to a woman named Geneva (Winona Ryder), and Ronnie is still planning on how to pop the question to his longtime girlfriend Beth (Jennifer Connelly). Both couples are extremely close, as they go on numerous dates together.
As Ronnie goes to the Chicago Botanical Gardens to plan his proposal, he is shocked to see Geneva cheat on his best friend with a rebel youth named Zip, played by Channing Tatum. That’s right, ladies. The same guy who restored your faith in romance in “Dear John” is now committing adultery by having sex with another man’s wife in “The Dilemma”.
There were a few things I liked about the movie. I thought it was funny that Nick kept getting the wrong idea. When Ronnie wants to have a serious talk with him, Nick thinks it’s about his proposal. I also liked the parts when Ronnie was lying about how he was roughed up while spying on Geneva’s affair. Instead of being poisoned by plants in the botanical gardens, he said he was poisoned by plants while helping children retrieve a ball.
I have multiple problems with this movie, however. Obviously, extramarital affairs are terrible situations with rarely any funny things about them. Therefore, the movie can be depressing at some points. Another problem I have is that it is never really explained why Geneva is cheating on Nick in the first place. Also, at parts it is hard to tell if the movie is trying to be a romantic comedy or a drama about adultery. For example, many parts show how Ronnie is torn by the situation. It just seems like that the movie doesn’t know who to pander to.
“The Dilemma” had a few parts that made me laugh, but the overall story was somewhat stressful. At parts I just wanted Vaughn to man up and just tell James already. If I were in that situation, I would tell my friend immediately. So, did Howard succeed in making extramarital affairs funnier?
Well, yes, but he could’ve done a much better job.