Ha—as if there were only one. Let’s count the dilemmas: Do the producers cut an inflammatory “electric cars are gay” joke, or do they keep it in and risk losing all those lavender Vince Vaughn fans? (It stays.) Does director Ron Howard retain the dramatic heft of recent fare like Frost/Nixon, or does he sacrifice it for yesteryear’s laughs of Splash? (Neither: The new movie, a misfire, plays like either a too-bruising marital comedy or a too-silly marital tragedy.) And here’s another: Must Winona Ryder, in order to work, embody bitch after bitch, lately in Black Swan and now this film’s defiantly cheating wife? Vaughn’s character, hip to the infidelity, can’t tell best friend Kevin James about it, lest he divert his concentration from their pending business deal.
Actually, here’s the biggest dilemma of all, and hardest to admit: How does one remain an unapologetic fan of Vaughn, abrasive though he is, even as his material fails him? To see the actor excel as a similarly tortured Chicago bro in 2006’s underrated The Break-Up was to notice a smarter way forward. With The Dilemma, you have to settle for two moments: an extended toast about honesty (a minor masterpiece of rudeness) and a manic fight with Channing Tatum. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to be in the Vince biz, but his appeal needs to be rethought.