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The Dilemma (2011)


Average Rating: 4.3/10
Reviews Counted: 159
Fresh: 38 | Rotten: 121

Critics Consensus: It boasts a likable cast and an interesting premise, but The Dilemma can't decide what to do with them; the result is an uneven blend of cheesy slapstick and surprisingly dark comedy.

Average Rating: 4.6/10
Critic Reviews: 32
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 22

Critics Consensus: It boasts a likable cast and an interesting premise, but The Dilemma can't decide what to do with them; the result is an uneven blend of cheesy slapstick and surprisingly dark comedy.


Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 56,013


Movie Info

Vince Vaughn and Kevin James headline an all-star comedy from director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer about a man who finds out that what you don't say to a friend is just as important as what you do. Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum and Queen Latifah join them in The Dilemma, a story of how far you can bend a brotherly bond before it snaps. Since college, confirmed bachelor Ronny (Vaughn) and happily married Nick (James) have been through thick and thin. Now partners in an … More

PG-13 (for mature thematic elements involving sexual content)
Directed By:
In Theaters:
May 3, 2011
Box Office:
Universal Pictures - Official Site



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Critic Reviews for The Dilemma

All Critics (160) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (121) | DVD (2)

As cumbersome and drawn out as a slowly deflating tire, this cinematic collision between Vaughn's celebrated funny-surly persona and Howard's earnest pedigree is a bore -- and a serious miscalculation.

Full Review… | January 28, 2011
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Who ever thought that Ron Howard could make a cult film? This movie is a mess, but it's an intelligent and affecting mess.

Full Review… | January 24, 2011
New Yorker
Top Critic

It lacks faith in its story, characters and audience.

Full Review… | January 18, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

Perhaps the late Blake Edwards could have found a balance between slapstick and psychodrama, but Ron Howard can't get the pacing right, and Allan Loeb's script is even wordier than the one he wrote for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

Full Review… | January 18, 2011
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

The filmmakers just don't know what to do about the ladies.

Full Review… | January 15, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Bromances being what they are, Vince's sharp pang of disappointment might have been worth pursuing but, Ron Howard being who he is, not a chance.

Full Review… | January 14, 2011
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Lacking any great surprises, this story meanders along trying to prolong the dilemma for as long as possible.

Full Review… | June 30, 2013
Big Hollywood

Unsettling and so off tone that we wonder if we are supposed to be laughing at this at all.

Full Review… | January 23, 2013
Movie Nation

The Dilemma is quite enjoyable until its characters stop behaving like rational adults and start acting like they've just realised they've got a film to finish.

Full Review… | September 28, 2012

It deals with a serious issue of problems in a marriage, but it does so in such an ignorant, clumsy, sophomoric way with a sexist point of view that it loses any value, either morally or in terms of entertainment.

Full Review… | November 18, 2011

The man who grew up on sitcoms and then made agreeable diversions like Splash and Parenthood seems to have lost his comedic touch.

Full Review… | November 18, 2011

Shockingly dark, the focus of "The Dilemma" is less about cheap laughs and more about the absurd humor of existential loneliness.

Full Review… | November 18, 2011

Director Ron Howard, usually a surer touch behind the camera, seems out of his element here, unable to bring anything into clear comedic focus.

Full Review… | September 9, 2011
American Profile

The story may wander, and bears none of Howard's usual hallmarks, but the talent involved ensures The Dilemma offers more than just your average date movie.

Full Review… | September 1, 2011
The National

This film is familiar territory to director Howard ("Parenthood") but, as always, he finds a way to get the right performances from his actors...

Full Review… | August 16, 2011

Even for an experienced director like Howard, there are just too many problems to get around.

Full Review… | July 14, 2011
Digital Spy

In spite of the talent, The Dilemma misfires

Full Review… | July 7, 2011
Movie Habit

Feels like a throwaway effort by everyone involved.

Full Review… | June 7, 2011
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

An intriguing marital dramedy that rides the line between great and awful, often undone by lazy editing.

Full Review… | May 16, 2011

...far too sedate and uneven to make a wholeheartedly positive impact on the viewer.

Full Review… | May 1, 2011
Reel Film Reviews

Do you trust this movie to tackle the issue with fairness and brains?

Full Review… | April 4, 2011

The Dilemma requires a director willing to indulge the dark comedy to its fullest. One name that style doesn't bring to mind for the job is Ron Howard.

Full Review… | March 9, 2011
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

Surely this balancing act involving both heartbreak and humor will polarize those who would prefer that the film stick to one or the other.

Full Review… | March 4, 2011
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

Some great chemistry between the central duo is undone by a plot that is so frustrating you will want to chew off your arm. It's so frustrating that the ending is a palpable relief.

Full Review… | March 1, 2011
Triple J

The Dilemma is built upon an inherently false premise. In its heart it knows this, so it expends all sorts of energy trying to throw sand in the eyes of viewers, obscuring this fact for the sake of 'zaniness.'

Full Review… | February 11, 2011
Shared Darkness

The male leads look comfortable in roles that approximate to their usual comic personas and each deliver chuckle-worthy moments.

Full Review… | February 10, 2011
Screen International

Audience Reviews for The Dilemma


If the audience isn't sympathetic with the characters why should they care? Are we supposed to be sympathetic towards Kevin James because he's, for want of a better phrase, cuddly? We could also be sympathetic towards Winona Ryder but then she's a women and this is (a poor attempt at) a guys film. The story has possibilities, the challenging of the other man (played by Channing Tatum) was close to good but should have been better. It's missed opportunity after missed opportunity. Not sure what the point of Queen Latifah's character even was? I like Ron Howard, and he's made some great films, he's just not dependable.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer


Ron Howard's The Dilemma it's a surprising black comedy and presents a interesting cast to a humor picture. But it flaw, what could be a different comedy become just another funny drama, sometimes unfunny and a cliche ending. Rotten.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer


The Dilemma has some really funny moments, the two main characters worked well together and it's easy watching, it did however, have a weak plot and seemed not to reach it's potential.

Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

Ronny Valentine: I just saw my best friend's wife with another man. I'll send you a check. 

"The truth hurts."

The Dilemma is a movie that relies on the audience liking the two leads, Vince Vaughn and Kevin James, and I do. In fact I like pretty much everybody involved here, especially Jennifer Connely. Sure the movie has its exceptions; Queen Latifa and Channing Tatum, but for the most part everybody is easy to like. The story isn't great, the movie isn't great, it isn't the funniest thing ever, but it isn't a completely worthless or horrible movie. In fact, I can go as far as to say I liked it.

Two friends and business partners are close to making the deal of their lives and they are both stressing out about it. Nick is the brains of the operation and is married to Geneva(Winona Ryder). Ronny is the talker of the partnership and is thinking about marrying his girlfriend. When he goes to a botanical garden to scout out a place to propose, he sees his best friends wife with another guy. From there he must decide how to handle the situation. Should he just come out and tell his best friend his wife is cheating on him while they are on the verge of a massive deal? Should he wait?

This movie isn't the greatest thing Ron Howard has ever done, but it isn't even close to the worst he has ever done either. The Da Vinci Code anyone? It isn't a landmark movie for anyone involved, but it is a fun little comedy. I think the film is a little over criticized. I know people have been disappointed with what Howard has been doing lately and I know there are a lot of people who don't like Kevin James movies. But come on, honestly this isn't horrible.

This isn't even close to one of the worst movies of the year, which I had heard from some people. It's just a nice, pleasant way to kill a couple hours. That is, once again, if you like the leads. 

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

The Dilemma Quotes

Ronny Valentine: Let's face it. Electric cars are totally gay. I don't mean gay as in homosexual gay, I mean "My parents are chaperoning the dance" gay.
– Submitted by Evan T (2 months ago)
Ronny Valentine: The conscience speaks, not in audible words, but through that small voice from within.
– Submitted by Rodrigo L (23 months ago)
Ronny Valentine: I'm a burn that face! Give me that stupid looking face!
– Submitted by Francesca G (2 years ago)
Herbert Trimpy: Those plants are poisonous!
– Submitted by rob g (3 years ago)
Ronny Valentine: Nick, great moments come from great opportunities. And that's what you've earned here today. It's what you've earned here today
– Submitted by rob g (3 years ago)

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