Posts Tagged ‘winona ryder’

Two posts in one day… I know, I spoil you…!

Now, to change things up a little bit – a review of a movie with a very different theme. It is the comedy/drama (although I very much dispute the comedy label here my friends…) called ‘The Dilemma’, starring Vince Vaughn, Winona Rider, Kevin James and, a personal favourite of mine, Jennifer Connelly.

...Yes it does - your movie is shit!

What’s it about?

Billed as a comedy about a man who discovers his best friend’s wife is cheating on him, The Dilemma is a lot more, and less than that. The only likeable character in the movie is played by Jennifer Connelly (and I say that without bias), as even the ‘victim’ of the piece Kevin James is shown to be far from an upstanding citizen. Our protagonist – Vaughn’s character is less than endearing and you will find yourself against him, and mostly annoyed for the majority of the film. Incidently, we are made to think – or so director Ron Howard wants – that Winona’s adulterous character is an unrelenting villain when, clearly, upon a layout of the facts – she is not.

Let’s break it down

Firstly, I laughed maybe twice in this movie. And I’m not sure about anybody else, but a comedy that makes you laugh twice in two hours is seriously not done its job. I mean, I have laughed more at an episode of Law and Order: SVU for God sake, and that has a very dark theme. That being said, as does The Dilemma. In fact, it is the theme of the movie that means it doesn’t get off the ground from the get go. Firstly, the supposed main funny bits of the movie include: Vaughn following his best friend to a massage parlour where it is implied he pays for sexual favours from a teenage prostitute (Yup – you did just read that right); Vaughn’s family and friends staging an intervention for his gambling addiction – again, not funny; Vaughn catching his best friends wife in a kiss with another man and then getting poisoned by a plant; Vaughn giving an insulting, sexist speech at Connelly’s parents anniversary dinner – I actually had to look away at that one; and to top things, Vaughn violently threatening to ‘burn [a guy’s] face off’ with a can of hairspray and a lighter. If you think any of those things are funny – then go right ahead and rent the movie. But trust me, not one scene was done in an amusing way.

But my main issue with the film, was the twisted morality. As I mentioned previously, Kevin James’ character is discovered to spend one night a week getting a ‘special massage’ off a nineteen year old Vietnamese girl. The whole movie is about how outrageous and disgraceful James’ wife is for cheating on him with the rather delic’ Channing Tatum. In fact, she is made out to be a total bitch, and is ostracised by every member of the cast – even the guy she was cheating with in the first place. Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realise this movie was set in 1923 – what a great year for women that was! I should also add that not a single negative word nor repercussion is placed on James’ character for his indiscretions. In fact by the end of the movie he is happy as Larry (I always wondered who the Larry was in that saying… hmmmm), high fiving his ‘buddy’ and they were sufficiently rewarded with getting a million dollar contract with Dodge motors. What the fuck…?!

Now, the males among you are probably thinking I’m being a feminist, frigid bitch right now. But surely, even if you ignore the issue of sex here, James’ character was way more in the wrong than his wife. Firstly, she began an affair because he was cheating. And it is cheating by the way. In fact it is worse than cheating. It is not only illegal, but I hardly find it amusing that he is abusing – and it is abuse in my eyes, as no one wants to sell sex, and to think of how desperate that person is – what he does is unforgivable. It isn’t like we are taking Belle de Jour here – this girl works in a shoddy, back street massage parlour and probably is an illegal. What comes with that? Well there’s is a high chance she was forced into sex trafficking, and therefore any act after that where money is exchanged is against her will. I told you… this film is a fucking riot. So I can in no way understand a) why they decided people would actually find this funny?! and b) how they could ridicule Winona Ryder for playing the field when what he was doing was so much worse…!

Honestly, it was this point that The Dilemma reached the point of no return. When I think about the years that probably went by, when this went from someone’s head, to the page, to production, editing and then onto the big screen and no one thought to say anything… nor thought about how offensive that is? It drives me crazy.

But lets say for a second that I could forgive that huge, sexist oversight – there are few things right with this movie. Vaughn isn’t endearing. He rarely is in my opinion. But in this film in particular, I wanted to reach through the TV and punch him. The way he handled the ‘dilemma’ was ridiculous. And I realise that was supposed to be the whole point of the movie. But it was over the top. We are supposed to believe that he would risk sacrificing the so-called woman he loves just so he doesn’t ‘tell [her] before [he’s] told him’?! And that he’d rather jeopardise a lengthy relationship by making them think he is gambling again? Its stupid. And he’s stupid in it. And what makes it worse is he isn’t even funny or amusing on his stupid far fetched escapade.

The good

I said there was little good about this movie – and that was true. The good parts in no way save the movie, and are still not any justification for watching. But they are there if you must watch.

Firstly, like I said – Jennifer Connelly is the only convincing, likeable character in the whole film. She plays her role effortlessly and well, but the whole thing screams ‘I am better than this’. Jennifer Connelly has given us some outstanding performances in the past, my favourite being opposite Ben Kingsley in the masterpiece – House of Sand and Fog – now there’s a movie you should watch. Lately, she’s being sticking to a lot of RomCom stuff, which, while as an actress is probably much less stressful – is a waste on her part. She isn’t Jennifer Aniston, she can do the gritty roles and I’m hoping she gets back to them as soon as she can. There are a thousand RomCom actresses out there – she is most definitely not one of them.

Secondly, Channing Tatum is the only amusing character in the film. Plus he’s pretty. He does the slightly disturbed hot guy role well, and he was well cast in this instance.

But that is it really. To sum up, its a poor poor comedy. But it was destined to fail given the plot. After that, it was just how long the ship took to sink.

A very generous 4/10. 

There are so many contenders for this its unreal. I love the drama genre and I have so many favourites to choose from. To name a few – Changeling, A Time to Kill, House of Sand and Fog… I could do this all day. But if by favourite we mean that I could watch it all day every day and not get bored then there really is only one choice:

Girl, Interrupted Trailer

Don’t let the trailer fool you, the film is a lot darker than it paints itself to be. Its an insight into the insane that ultimately forces you to see them as real people like all of us, and that despite being locked away from the world we all must face a that same dark side a little bit every day within ourselves. Angelina Jolie is mind blowing in this film, and deserved the Oscar (not as much as she did for Changeling however and she was passed over). However now that Brittany Murphy has died its not as easy a watch as it used to be, and her characters fate in the film is especially overwhelming.

That being said, its a great film that is as warm and funny as it is dark. A definite recommend.