Review in a Hurry: This goofy comedy is actually a dark look at bromance under fire. Those expecting a trademark Vince Vaughn Wedding Crashers-style laughfest will be disappointed—and those who hate Vince Vaughn Wedding Crashers-style laughfests will be surprisingly impressed.
The Bigger Picture: The Dilemma is a cautionary tale, a yarn about double lives and dark secrets. Sounds dramatic, doesn't it?
And you thought it'd be Vaughn falling off trees and pulling faces for laughs. It's not that these things don't happen (the "gay" joke that caused so much controversy, for example, is still here), but in between, Vaughn finds himself actually...acting.
Though it does have two comedic actors at the helm (Vaughn and King of Queens comic Kevin James), The Dilemma deals with a dead serious subject: Betrayal. What would you do?, it asks, sacrificing screwball comedy for more realistic situations. (Maybe credit that the director is Oscar-winner Ron Howard?)
Vaughn's character Ronny is torn when he catches best friend Nick (James)'s wife embracing another man. Yet, the two buds are about to take the world by storm with a valuable engine prototype and Nick can't handle any distractions.
Ronny is a recovering gambling addict, and his secretive behavior arouses suspicions of his girlfriend Beth (Jennifer Connelly).
While navigating this treacherous territory, there's lots of room for humor, but also a toned-down, sensitive and concerned Vaughn attempting to make things right. The love between the two fellas is actually quite touching.
Winona Ryder continues her sly comeback playing despicable ladies, following up Black Swan's faded diva with this selfish turn as Geneva, Nick's wife. She rounds out a solid cast that deftly handles the script's abrupt changes in tone.
Lest this sounds like a hopeless fable, there is a happy ending of sorts, and enough humor to make it, at the most basic evaluation, a comedy. Just expect to bring your conscience along with your funny bone.
The 180—a Second Opinion: A crime was truly committed, one worse than adultery, by under-using Queen Latifah. She plays a consultant working with Nick and Ronny on their new prototype but she's hardly seen. The likeable Queen could have brought just the right dash of wisdom and levity to the proceedings.