You know cilantro? Like the food? Cilantro? And you know how there’s that certain subset of people (including Julia Child, the President of Food!) who go completely apeshit if you even mention cilantro because to them it tastes like sucking soapsuds off their dead grandmother’s bones? But then other people are all, “MMMMMMMMMMM!!! PUT IT ALL OVER MY MEALS AND SNACKS! YOUR DEAD GRANDMOTHER’S BONES TASTE LIKE SWEET AMBROOOOOSIA!” That’s basically how I think of Vince Vaughn. He’s the worst. Unless you love him.
For you, a person, to enjoy watching The Dilemma, you have to be in the second group—the group that enjoys the piquant, soapy flavor of Vaughn. This is an incredibly intensive Vaughn experience—a Vaughn master class. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if on page one, the screenplay just says [VINCE VAUGHN SPAZZES THE FUCK OUT] and then there’s 65 pages of [CONT.] until the very last page, which says [JENNIFER CONNELLY CRIES; SOMETHING ABOUT BROTHERHOOD AND HOCKEY].
Now. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. I happen to be in the second camp—I find Vaughn funny and sexually attractive, even though his face appears to be slowly devouring his eyeballs like he was on the losing side of a bee fight. The premise of The Dilemma is that Vaughn’s character has a best friend, played by Kevin James. The two own an engine-inventing business (okey dokey!) and they’re about to make the deal of a lifetime with Chrysler (their bajillion-dollar pitch: ELECTRIC CARS ARE TOO QUIET, YOU KNOW, LIKE FAGGY GAY PEOPLE). But then Vaughn sees James’s wife (Winona Ryder, wide-eyed maniac) sucking on Channing Tatum’s face in a botanical garden. Oh no! He wants to tell his best friend the truth, but he knows his best friend is suffering from an ulcer! And nothing can derail the DEAL OF A LIFETIME like stomach bleeding!!!
Instead, this being a movie, Vaughn goes through approximately infinity unlikely contortions trying to figure out what to do (quick suggestion: nothing?). In the process, he gets punched in the face many times, makes an ass out of himself in public, jeopardizes his own relationship for literally no reason, and almost relapses into his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad gambling addiction. To its credit, The Dilemma treats the complicated tensions and sadnesses and joys of relationships with far more nuance than most modern comedies. But if you hate Vince Vaughn, I guarantee that you will run weeping from the theater in the first 10 minutes. If, on the other hand, you love him and love man chest, you stand a chance of getting to the main thing that makes this movie worthwhile, which is Channing Tatum being hilarious and not wearing a shirt at the same time. Channing Tatum’s man chest for president.