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The Dilemma

Year: 2011
Studio: Universal
Director: Ron Howard
Producer: Ron Howard
Writer: Allan Loeb
Cast: Vince Vaughan, Kevin James, Winona Ryder, Jennifer Connelly, Channing Tatum, Queen Latifah

I think the reason this film did so poorly with critics (it wasn't quite a resounding flop but made half its budget back) is because it was like Jersey Girl by Kevin Smith or Batman by Tim Burton – a film you'd never expect from the director who made it. Instead of building a buzz of intrigue it instead generated an indifferent 'WTF? Ron Howard doing a rom-com?'

It must have been a very expensive club of actors however as Universal spent $70m on a film that had no special effects, action scenes or large exteriors. It's like a remake of a French film as Ronny (Vaughan) is faced with a tight spot when it comes to his best friend and coworker Nick (James).

Ronny's girlfriend (Connelly) and Nick's wife Geneva (Ryder) make up the foursome of a great friendship but when Ronny sees Geneva with another guy it threatens everything – especially as they're working on a very important and stressful deal at their car engine design company.

The dilemma is whether Ronny should tell Nick and not only hurt his best friend immeasurably with the news but probably torpedo their big break. Howard – directing from Allan Loeb's script – treats the character seriously despite a few comic 'movie' moments (like Ronny's speech at the wedding). Nobody is the comic foil and everyone is taken seriously, and even if the premise is a little lightweight to sustain a budget this big and performances this assured the approach is the redeeming feature of an otherwise so-so film.

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