The Dilemma (1/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 112 minutes
Not for children.
This review contains spoilers.
I deplored the morality and inconsistencies and sexism of it so much
that I canít write a review without going into what happens in more
detail than I usually do. So if you want to go see this despicable film,
you should probably not read this review.
This is no comedy. It deals
with a serious issue of problems in a marriage, but it does so in such
an ignorant, clumsy, sophomoric way with a sexist point of view that it
loses any value, either morally or in terms of entertainment.
In this film, directed by Ron
Howard and written by Alan Loeb, the main point is that itís OK for a
husband to withdraw sex and philander, but woe betide his wife who loves
him but is driven into the arms of another man by his actions.
Ronny Valentine (Vince Vaughn)
learns that Geneva (Winona Ryder), the wife of his best friend, Nick
Brannen (Kevin James) is having a clandestine affair. In his mind, this
presents him with the titular ďdilemma,Ē to tell or not to tell. Ronny
rants and raves and goes through impossible machinations (few of which
are funny) to try to decide whether or not to tell his friend.
To make the film even worse,
Geneva actually explains to Ronny that she loves Nick, but her
infidelity with Zip (Channing Tatum) was caused by Nickís withdrawal of
sex from her and getting it with prostitutes, a certainly rational, if not moral, explanation for her
actions. Maybe it doesnít justify what she did, but it explains that the
problem isnít as simple as it appeared on the surface, and her
explanation should have been enough to convince anybody dense enough to
consider telling on her, to stay out of it. But he perseveres.
Even more of an anomaly is the
way Ronnyís girlfriend, Beth (Jennifer Connolly), sticks with Ronny.
Ronny lies to Beth every chance he gets. He even ruins her parentsí 40th
wedding anniversary with a completely idiotic toast, implying that her
parents cheated on each other.
Itís unlikely that Howard is
so obtuse he doesnít realize the dichotomy heís created with Ronny as a
man who hypocritically considers himself so honest he feels required to tell his friend of Genevaís
infidelity, but lies habitually to his girlfriend. So his creation of
Bethís unquestioned love for him despite this, and his painting Geneva
as the sole person at fault in her relationship with Nick has to be
intentional. This is nothing if not sexist.
The ending is disgraceful.
Frankly, Iím surprised Howard could get any thinking actress to
participate in a film with such a deplorable tone about women.