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The Dilemma


Latest Home Video

May 03, 2011

MPAA Rating:


Run Time:



Ron Howard


Vince Vaughn

Kevin James

Winona Ryder


2011 Universal

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Still shot from the movie: The Dilemma.

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Overall C
Run Time110

Making the Grades

Director Ron Howard and actor Vince Vaughn appear to be an odd pairing. The first is known for his dramatic films like A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man and Frost/Nixon. Vince Vaughn plays anything-but-serious roles in Couples Retreat, Zoolander and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. For the Oscar award winning Howard, The Dilemma seems like the big deviation from his established path.

The film may have been a step up from the screwball comedy I expected but then I wasn’t anticipating much. And it was just a baby step better than I predicted.

In the story, Ronny Valentine (Vince Vaughn) is in a predicament. While scouting out the perfect location to propose to his girlfriend Beth (Jennifer Connelly), he stumbles upon the wife of his best friend in a lip lock with another man. When he finally confronts Geneva (Winona Ryder) about her infidelity with the tattoo-covered Zip (Channing Tatum), she cautions him about judging what happens behind closed doors with her and her husband Nick (Kevin James).

Adding to the dilemma, Ronny and Nick are right in the middle of preparing for a huge presentation on a new engine component to the Chrysler auto company. Huddled over a car motor, Nick is absorbed in his work and doesn’t have time when Ronny comes into the workshop for a personal discussion. In the meantime, Geneva begs her accuser to let things be until after the project is finished.

Talked into keeping the secret a little longer, Ronny still wants to make sure he has the evidence he needs. Buying a camera, he climbs onto Zip’s balcony where he takes pictures of Geneva and her lover in various stages of undress and embrace. After discovering the Peeping Tom, Zip, who is high on drugs, attacks Ronny and his classic muscle car with a baseball bat. Later he threatens the cameraman with a gun.

Ronny, however, hardly has a pristine past when it comes to truthfulness, so making him the Honesty Cop seems like a big stretch. When the former gambling addict becomes increasingly evasive around his girlfriend and Nick, the two begin to worry the reforming bettor has relapsed. And once assumptions are made, it is easy to find proof to support them.

Though the production presents plenty of worthwhile questions about coming clean, the answers don’t come as easily from this cast of well-known comedians. Their characters frequently engage in juvenile fistfights, stealth surveillance tactics and sexually verbal dialogue. The lack of justification for many of their actions and a double standard for men and women also make it hard to feel sympathy for the choices they make. Even their good intentions are debatable when a friendly intervention proves to be much more revealing than anyone anticipated.

Unfortunately what could have been an entertaining script ends up fumbling on several fronts. Everyone in the story has a different opinion on honesty and whether or not it is the best policy. But for many potential viewers, the frequent profanities, female buttock nudity and some crude sexual content will cause another dilemma—to go or not to go.

Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Dilemma.

Does Ronny have a responsibility to tell Nick what is happening? Are there situations where a person has no business in becoming involved? Under similar circumstances, would you tell you’re friend? How would you do it? Is it fair for Ronny to play the role of honesty cop considering his own past and present actions?

What effect do you think Internet surfing and gaming has on productivity at work? Does it provide a mental break for employees or can it be an excessive waste of time?

This script has a double standard when it comes to female and male infidelity. Would the story be stronger if both genders were found equally guilty? Is there justification given for the marriage problems? What do you think Geneva finds attractive about Zip?

Canadian Movie Ratings

PG Coarse Language, Nudity, Violence.
AB PG Coarse Language.
MB PG Mature Theme, Language May Offend.
ON PG Mature Theme, Language May Offend.
QC G Not recommended for Young Children.

Canadian Home Video Rating: PG

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of The Dilemma...

The Dilemma releases to DVD and Blu-ray with the following bonus materials:

- This Is The Dilemma (Brian Grazer and Ron Howard share the story of how The Dilemma was conceived in a restaurant in Rome. Go behind the scenes with cast and crew members as they give an inside look at the making of the film both on and off set.)

- Seven deleted scenes

- Alternate ending

- Gag reel

The Dilemma on Blu-ray also includes these extras:

- Tour Chicago: Take an inside look at some of the fantastic places in Chicago that were featured in the film. Hosted by Vince Vaughn, visit the United Center, The Green Mill, Botanical Gardens and the famous architectural boat tour.

- On Ice: Join Vince Vaughn, Kevin James and Ron Howard on the ice at Chicago’s United Center the year the Blackhawk’s won the Stanley Cup and watch Ron Howard get an ice hockey lesson from Blackhawk’s star Dave Bolland.

- Seven more deleted scenes

- BD-Live

- pocket BLU

- My Movies: Consumers can instantly stream a free bonus movie of their choice or choose to rent a variety of Universal favorites including Meet the Parents, Fast and Furious, Mamma Mia! and Coraline.

- My scenes


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