The Dilemma

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Ronny (Vaughn) is content with his life - a sexy girlfriend and a job with his best mate since college, Nick (James). But then he spots Nick's wife, Geneva (Ryder), apparently cheating on him. What should he do? Tell Nick the truth or keep quiet?


The titular conundrum – if you caught your best friend’s wife cheating, should you tell them? – seems like a no-brainer: of course you would. A bigger dilemma was clearly how to sell this bittersweet comedy-drama, a return to territory which Oscar winner Howard hasn’t explored since Parenthood. As with Steve Martin in that film, the presence of Vaughn and James suggests comedic intent, yet the laughs are chiefly present to leaven the more dramatic stuff – like Howard doing Mike Leigh. Surprisingly, for such an assured director, Howard fumbles the material a bit, and the film ultimately bites off more than it can chew in less than two hours. But it’s always engaging, and there are fully-fledged comedies out there – many of them starring Vince Vaughn – with fewer genuine laughs than this.

Hit-and-miss for Howard. The tone flits, sometimes uncomfortably, from Vaughn-fuelled laugh-fest to relationship drama, but it's a winner compared to many of the clunkly comedies out there.