The Dilemma, Blu-ray (2011)

by | May 7, 2011 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

The Dilemma, Blu-ray (2011)

Starring: Vince Vaughan, Kevin James, Winona Ryder, Jennifer Connelly
Director: Ron Howard
Studio: Universal 6115729 [5/3/11]
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio, DD 5.1, DD 2.0
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Extras: Alternate ending, Deleted scenes, Gag reel, “This is The Dilemma” featurette
Length: 112 minutes
Rating: ***½

At the risk of seeming lazy I’m going to quote Rotten Tomatoes on this one since it pretty much sums things up: "It boasts a likable cast and an interesting premise, but The Dilemma can’t decide what to do with them; the result is an uneven blend of cheesy slapstick and surprisingly dark comedy."  I’m not quite that negative, finding that Howard and his film script writer came up with some interesting and unexpected plot twists in making a rather simple dilemma into an entire feature supposed-comedy.

The simple dilemma is that Ronny and Nick (Vaughan and James) are best buds and partners in some sort of small firm designing cars, and are close to a clinching a big project with Chrysler that will make them famous. Ronny happens to see Nick’s wife kissing another man, and he then has to figure out whether or how to tell his partner what he saw. The gross difference in height between the two men is an unspoken part of the comedy. James is already a physical/psychological wreck due to the stress of making a deadline on their project, and Ronny becomes his own type of physical/psychological wreck trying to decide what to do. Also involved is Ronny’s decision to propose to his chef girlfriend, which he is trying to keep a secret from her as he makes preparations.

After many plot turns all the main characters end up at an intervention session for Ronny, in the mistaken belief that his odd behavior is the result of his relapsing into his former gambling addiction. Here it all finally comes out, and the bromance of the two buddies is eventually rekindled at a celebratory hockey game.

The actors are all fine, including Queen Latifah in a role as one of the Chrysler execs, doing her usual over-the-top bit.  But some of the humor is awfully dark and downright uncomfortable – approaching a psychodrama sort of treatment rather than the comedy it’s supposed to be. Some might even consider some of it downright offensive.  The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) did, due to Vaughn’s line used in the film trailer saying “Electric cars are gay.” Ron Howard put out a new trailer without the line but left it in the film.

The film, all shot in Chicago, looks its $70-75 million budget, and the Blu-ray transfer seems fine. The 5.1 soundtrack doesn’t make much use of the surround but dialog is always fairly understandable. The alternate ending in the extras might be of interest to some.

 — John Sunier

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