- Film Festival
So I got to be Jared (PFS Membership Director) for Tuesday night’s preview screening of Ron Howard’s new comedy The Dilemma. It would have been more fun to be the keeper of the list and doler out of the tickets, if the snow hadn’t kept so many members from attending the movie. Well, let’s just say the snow didn’t help with attendance.
It’s not Ron Howard’s finest moment. I get the feeling he thought, why am I killing myself making movies where I have to stay true to history or someone’s book, create good visuals and well-rounded stories, when people flocked to The Hangover which made mad money hand over fist. So I feel he decided to direct a little schlock of his own.
I watched an interview with Howard on The View. He said the idea for the movie came from a true life experience with his long time business partner, Brian Grazer. Grazer thought he saw Howard’s wife of 35 years, being extra chummy with a guy on the street. He could only see her from behind, so he made a point to keep following until he could see her face and assure himself that his best friend and partner wasn’t being cuckolded.
Later he told Howard about the incident and it soon became a “what if” topic of discussion around the office. Similar to the water cooler talk back in ‘93 when Indecent Proposal was released.
The women of The View used the scenario as one of their hot topics, and I was surprised that all the women except for Elizabeth Hasselbeck said they would NOT tell their best friend if they saw their husband cheating. Normally, I’m not a Hasselbeck fan, but on this one I think she’s correct. I’m practically the only single person left among my friends and I’m chummy with their significant others, but if I clearly witnessed it the way Ronny (Vince Vaughn) saw Geneva (Winona Ryder) and Zip (Channing Tatum) going at it in the foliage of Long Wood Gardens, (movie set in Chicago, but I can tell they must have shot those scenes here) I would have to tell what I saw. And Ron Howard said, if it had been true, he’d have wanted to be told.
What adds to the dilemma in the movie is the fact that Ronny and Nick (Kevin James) are business partners in a venture to create super engines in electric cars. Nick is the engineer and the pressure to perfect this engine before their meeting with one of the top car manufacturers is crucial to both men. It’s not a good time to distract Nick with a marital crisis. In addition, when Ronny confronts Geneva about her infidelities, she turns the tables on him to the point where Ronny realizes Nick would never believe him without proof.
The film is not without it’s funny moments, Vince Vaughn’s trademark, deadpan delivery of obvious improvisational dialogue is always something to give you a chuckle. He’s particularly funny giving a presentation that leads off with how “Gay” electric cars look. However, in my opinion, the movie would have played better without an overall comedic tone. Could still have cast Vaughn and James, but comedians actually come up with funnier moments playing straight, then when the pressures on to create an atmosphere of levity.
So, OK Ronny (Howard), we kinda let you phone this one in, now where’s your next Frost Nixon?