x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

The Dilemma

Ron Howard directs Kevin James and Vince Vaughn in a woeful, laugh-an-hour comedy about infidelity.

Director: Ron Howard

Starring: Kevin James, Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder

Marital infidelity, job dissatisfaction, financial insecurity - sounds like a barrel of laughs doesn't it? The Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard serves up a big, fat dollop of depression in his latest film, The Dilemma, which is bewilderingly dubbed a "laugh-out-loud" comedy.

Gasp-out-loud might be more appropriate, for the acting (from the all-star cast) and the storyline are entirely far-fetched. All the characters harbour dirty little secrets that tumble out at a painfully slow pace over the course of nearly two hours.

The biggest truth comes to light when Ronny (Vaughn) catches his best friend's wife (Ryder) kissing another man: he turns super sleuth overnight and his investigation dissolves into a crazy farce. That said, fans of Vaughn will probably love this film which gives him endless monologues, solo scenes and improbable fight scenarios. Unfortunately, what should be tension-building scenes between Vaughn and Ryder are ruined before a word is even uttered.

The actress's red and watery eyes pre-empt what's coming, making you acutely aware this is probably the fifth take Howard's made her do, with no visible improvement. Connelly however, who plays beauty to Vaughn's beast, is a rose among many thorns making you wish she had more face-time. Queen Latifa makes a forgettable appearance in a parallel storyline and Kevin James seems strangely miscast as Ryder's philandering husband. All in all, the dilemma of whether to watch this film or not doesn't really take much pondering.