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You have been buddies with your best friend for the better part of twenty years; you trust each other more than anything trusts and rely on each other explicitly to help each other out whenever needed and back each other up whenever possible. You and your best friend work together and have a very successful business in the automotive industry and you love what you do more than anything else, but here is the dilemma. What if you found out that your best friend's wife was cheating on him? How would you relay this shocking turn of events to your best friend? How would you tell him that his wife of twenty years has been seeing a tatted up dude named Zip (Channing Tatum)!? How would you tell him, how could you tell him and most importantly would you tell him? Now that is the dilemma.
Ron Howard's "The Dilemma" is a slick, good-looking dark "comedy" that has a premise that any person can identify with in one way or another. It is such a shame that a movie with such an interesting idea must subject itself to the norms of modern day comedy. With its use of cruel and indecent slapstick, absurdly unlikable characters, long stretches of inane, cringe inducing over written dialogue and a plot so preposterous it boggles the mind in how anyone thought it would work as a film. "The Dilemma" tries it is hardest to find some middle ground between the cheesy sitcom antics, its violent burst of dark comedy, and its group of overbearing, whiny characters but it just cannot. All this film seems intent on doing is stretching an episode of "How I Met Your Mother" to film length without even the slightest bit of effort of trying to insert any intelligence, relevancy, or serious dramatic moments into it. This film is more concerned with just going through the motions of its rather mediocre script written by Allan Loeb that seems more invested in making a mountain out of a molehill with its story than simply going straight for the truth. The dilemma in "The Dilemma" is that this film has no clue what relationships, friendship or human nature is like for that matter it seems to think that they involve a group of insipid characters lying, fighting, nagging, swearing constantly, and cracking crude sex jokes. Being vile and insensitive to other people's feelings making them fee lower than the dirt beneath their feet this is a nasty, cruel, irritating and downright vicious film that asserts my strong disdain for the genre of comedy.
I liked the cast in this film some of the actors in this film are people I admire and love to watch on the screen. Sadly, misused in this shamble of a movie that it almost becomes painful to watch them go through the motions of this films abysmal plot "The Dilemma" is a misguided film that thinks it is actually something worth going to the theater to see. Sadly, it is not even something that is worth renting let alone spending the sixteen bucks to sit there and be verbally assaulted by whiny characters that hammer this film straight into its own grave. "The Dilemma" is a misfire for director Ron Howard who has done far better work in the past and deserves better than this film can offer him, all he seems to be doing is directing an overblown, overlong and stretched to unbearable proportions episode of a rather gruesome sitcom in the "How I Met Your Mother" fashion. If done with more tact, style, wit, and intelligence, "The Dilemma" could have been a solid comedy-drama with good strong characters, an intriguing premise, and a story everyone can relate. Instead goes for the cheesy and the cruel gags instead of taking the high road to movie greatness.
I have never had a real affinity for Vince Vaughn, I find him rather insipid and irritating in most of the roles that he plays and his latest role as Ronny Valentine furthers my disdain for Mr. Vince Vaughn. Vaughn plays Ronny Valentine, Ronny is a confirmed bachelor since college who is squeamish when it comes to relationships and commitment and is in a relationship with the beautiful Beth (Jennifer Connelly) who his friend Nick (Kevin James) is trying to convince him that she is the one. The main problem with the character of Ronny Valentine is that he is frankly, a moron. He spends half of this films unbearable running time breaking into people's houses, threatening to burn their face off, killing a person's fish and getting into a fist fight with a tattooed lug hyped up on drugs (and take in mind that this is all in one scene). After finding out that his best friends wife is sleeping with another man. Ronny runs around pulling off one stupid stunt after another, after another, after another just trying to find the perfect way to tell his best friend that his wife is cheating on him. When Ronny does finally tell him (in front of a large group of people) neither Ronny nor the audience gets the result or the relief that they so justly deserved. Vaughn gives it his all, but in the end, it is is not enough. He fails to deliver any laughs or any dramatic depth as the lead and so for his failure the film is a failure. It had the opportunity, he had the opportunity, he missed his chance, and so he suffers for the blundering of the script and the less than swift hand of the director. The rest of the cast including Winona Ryder, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin James, and Channing Tatum all give strong performances channeling characters that are rather unlikable in this mess of a film.
"The Dilemma" is a bad film with a good director, a good cast and a good idea gone off the rails and blows up in a searing cloud of smoke and fire in its own self -indulgent whims, it is the kind of film that takes pride in being the cruel, vile piece of attempted entertainment that it is. Much like last years, "Due Date" this film channels its immature, nasty, despicable, and disreputable and over all vicious atmosphere without thinking for a second about how it's mean spirited, immature nature would affect its audience. "The Dilemma" just keeps chugging along to its cringe inducing and embarrassing finale. This film tries its best and seems to think it is enough, that what it is is good enough to be called good or even satisfactory for that matter. "The Dilemma" is a mixed up film that needs to find itself and think before it acts, sadly I only wish the screenwriter had thought it through more thoroughly, this could have been a solid film instead of the steaming train wreck that it is.
There are some things in this world that humanity was never meant to understand, never meant to find out the truth, never meant to grasp the reality of something more than the world that we have built for ourselves and the prefabricated lies that we have been feed to make us believe the singular truth. The one all consuming truth that in this world, in this universe we are the only life that exist, we are the only thing that lives and that Earth, our home is the only planet in this universe that can sustain life. Now let me as you this, what if the prefabricated truth that you have always believed turned out to be the lie that you so justly dismissed. What if the lies were the truth and the truths were the lies, what if everything you thought about there being life out there in the universe was right. What if the truth about all of this was not only within your reach, but also in your own backyard, the answers to these questions may seem insurmountable or even irrefutable at best but to find the truth you first must have to find your belief in the truth, because the truth is never what is seems and the lies are always what they appear to be.
As the lights dimmed in the theater at my viewing of J.J. Abrams' new Science-Fiction film "Super 8," I didn't know what to expect. I had heard very little chatter about this mysterious film and knew little to nothing about its story which was shrouded in mystery so with my limited knowledge I walked into this film blind, not knowing what to expect, and as I sat there marveling in the beauty and grandeur of this spellbinding and hypnotic film. I realized that not knowing what to expect made the experience all the more extraordinary. J.J. Abrams(Lost , Alias, Fringe, Star Trek) has crafted a touching, wonderful and gorgeous tribute to small town America and to the great classic summer blockbuster's of Steven Spielberg namely "Close Encounters of The Third Kind", "Jaws" and "E.T. : Extraterrestrial". "Super 8" evokes a sense of time and place when things were a little simpler and people were not as hostile or as violent as they are today, it evokes the small town appeal present in many Capra and Spielberg films. The kind of small town appeal where everyone knows each other by name, where the people are friendly and the skies are as blue as the ocean. This is a film for the film lover inside of all of us, a true film that is not only frightening, emotional, action packed and humorous but has the scope of and ideals of films from the Golden Era that have been lost on most modern filmmakers. The emotional depth of this film is what makes it the most shocking, it took me by surprise because naturally I did not expect those kinds of feelings to be present in a film with such an obvious premise, this at its surface is and foremost a monster movie. If you walk in expecting some big budget, over the top, shoot'em up than I must kindly point you in the direction of Mr. Michael Bay because this is not the film for you." Super 8" is a film with a heart, with a soul it just doesn't go for the action it goes for something much more meaningful and deep, it makes a connections with its characters that the audience can feel, can understand. The characters are not just in service of the plot and the special effects but rather the special effects and the plot are at the service of the characters, and what fine characters they are at that. J.J. Abrams has surpassed all that he has done before to create and affectionate and heartfelt as well as scary Sci-Fi drama/thriller that not only pays homage to classic films but also proudly flaunts its humanitarian ideals on how even a creature form another world should be treated as an equal.
What I found most profound is how this film was skillfully able to balance the thrills with the human drama. So many films these days try and fail miserably to balance the human complexity within their story with the hard, edgy thrills and chills of its plot most films try and most of the time they fail, mainly due to the fact that they are more focused on the thrills and chills instead of the human condition of the characters. "Super 8" balances all three with sure hands, intelligence, and grace; this film takes pride its story, in its characters and most importantly in itself. This film takes joy in its story and in bringing it to life; it just does not go through the motions like most films of recent years. This is a movie made by an intelligent man who not only knows what movie making is about but understands it is more than just special effects, beautiful women, big explosions and loud action sequences. It's about the plot, the story and the characters and Abrams knows this, he knows that movies can not all be just superficial they have to have some life to it, they have to have a heart a soul to call it's own and "Super 8" has a rather large heart that is three sizes bigger than it should be and all through out this affectionate production it shows its love for the cinema, Spielberg and for life, whether it be human or not.
Joel Courtney turns in a strong performance as Joe Lamb the obligatory geek who has to step up to the plate and become the savior of his hometown. Courtney shows much potential as the hero of this story and while he may lack depth as an actor due to his age he shows strong potential throughout that, he may become a fine actor one day. Courtney gives some added innocence and childlike delight to a rather dark film, his presences is a reminder of that of Henry Thomas' Elliot from Spielberg's timeless classic "E.T. ", and while "Super 8" in its way feels like "E.T." it has the distinction of having a hero who is as brave as he is selfless. Courtney's Joe is a brave, smart, shy, and geeky eleven-year-old boy who is somewhat of an outsider amongst the other kids of the town, mainly due to his father being a deputy in the local Sheriff's office. Joe is a more complex character than you would think, he just does not run around in service of the plot, he is an integral part of the plot; he is what makes the story what it is. Without a strong lead performance, this film would have fallen apart at the seams and disintegrated into a regular old monster film. Thanks to him and strong supporting work from a young cast elevates "Super 8" to greatness that would have been lost on it if in other less talented hands. The rest of the cast including Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard, Noah Emmerich, Riley Griffiths, Elle Fanning, Zach Mills, Ryan Lee and Gabriel Basso all turn in stellar supporting work in this masterful Science-Fiction tale.
"Super 8" is not only one of the first great films in many a summer, but it is one of the best Science-Fiction films to come out in the last ten years. This bold, big, and heartfelt film has the feel of an indie gem fused with the technological wizardry of modern day filmmaking to create a masterpiece that not only evokes the classics films of old, but also sets itself firmly as one of Sci-Fi's best and brightest films. A true testaments to how the genre is suppose to be done.