Vince Vaughn is Ronny, co-owner of a boutique car-engine manufacturer. He’s the pitchman; the brains belong to Nick, played by Kevin James. Their intention—to build the guts for the first electric-powered muscle car and sell the prototype to Dodge. From Ron Howard, director of the better carmaker dramedy Gung Ho (his final comedy—cough—before the move to The Big Serious), The Dilemma is a myriad of subplots piled into the trunk of a lemon. There’s the larger storyline: Ronny sees Nick’s wife (Winona Ryder) messing around with a tattooed love boy (Channing Tatum), and his inability to reveal the infidelity sends Ronny into a slapstick free-for-pratfall. Then there’s Ronny’s own commitment issues to girlfriend Jennifer Connelly, the frat boy’s wet dream in a Cubbies tee. Ah, and what of Ronny’s gambling addiction? Just wait for it. And Queen Latifah’s here too—well, here and there, in a role that appears to have been added and then forgotten just about after she was hired. The Dilemma is a mess, in short—not comedy, not drama, not clever, not insightful, only forgettable. What were we talking about again?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 12, 2011