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"The Dilemma" Review

What the hell happened to Ron Howard? When Opie (if you're old)/Richie Cunningham (if you're not so old) stepped behind the camera, he had a respectable run of decent to near-great (and in the case of Apollo 13, genuinely great; it should've won Best Picture) movies like Splash, Cocoon, Backdraft, and Ransom. Then around the turn of the millennium, things got dicey culminating in his contracting a lethal dose of Oscar Curse when he won Best Director and Picture for A Beautiful Mind, a movie so lackluster that I sold the DVD, something I almost never do. In the ensuing decade, I've only seen two of the six features he's made - The Da Vinci Code (which sucked) and Frost/Nixon (so-so and I was surprised to see he made it when I looked it up now) - because I simply haven't been interested in what he's been putting out and if the others were as terrible as The Dilemma, I'm missing nothing.

The Dilemma gets the ignoble honor of being the first movie of 2012 that I couldn't finish watching. I made it through 70 minutes of its 1:51 running time and if I laughed once, I don't recall. It was straining and struggling and feeling wrong from the very first scene and never got better. My girlfriend fell asleep early on (I was yawning a lot myself) and whenever she woke up, she'd ask, "Why are you still watching this?" When the window we had in between TV shows ended - which we'd agreed beforehand that if the movie was OK, we'd miss Fashion Police's Oscar special - there was no dilemma, we switched over and never went back.

Since I'm supposed to be reviewing this I guess I should....wait, does the trailer spell everything out? Check it out:

Pretty much! The only things unclear are that Vince and Kevin are making booming speaker systems that pump out the noise and vibration of a muscle car that is electric and that Kevin is the brains of the outfit - you didn't think Vince was, did you? - and that for him to learn his wife is cheating on him may be a company-killing distraction. However, I think the trailer does a good job and showcasing the incredibly unfunniness of The Dilemma. Howard and company mistake being REALLY LOUD for being energetic and at no time did I believe that these were people in the real world. The bit in the trailer about dancing takes place in the second scene and was a huge warning flare that this movie would blow.

Around the edges, there were slight hints that perhaps a total rewrite of the script and a different director could've made a barely interesting movie, but it didn't happen. The only one who actually tries to make this crap come to life somewhat is Winona Ryder, whom I've mourned her career exile as Angelina Jolie cruelly stomped her Oscar dreams in Girl, Interrupted, pretty much sending poor Noni into a personal death spiral that took Lindsay Lohan to erase from the public eye. The only thing that may have made me finish slogging through The Dilemma would've been to see how Winona's side of things turned out, but it wasn't enough overall.

Score: DNF. Skip it.


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