My very first response to this trailer for Ron Howard‘s The Dilemma (Universal, 1.14.11), a dramedy about an infidelity situation, is that Vince Vaughan and Kevin James have become very amply proportioned. Their wives, however, are played by the slim and svelte Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder. And that’s not how it works in the real world.
Fat guys tend to marry women with weight issues and vice versa. A husband or wife will sometimes sympathetically gain weight as a way of showing allegiance. (Like when guys pack it on when their wives become pregnant.) But slim wives will generally not let their fat husbands off the hook — they’ll hammer and hammer them until they go to the club and drop some pounds. That or they’ll capitulate and gain weight so as to reduce their differences.
The Dilemma used to be known as Untitled Cheating Project (a.k.a. Your Cheating Heart). I reviewed Allen Loeb’s script seven months ago. Here’s part of what I said:
“Vaughn and James will play Chicago-based engine designers Ronnie Valentine and Isaac Backman, respectively, whose significant others are Beth (Connelly) and Geneva (Ryder). The central tension is about Ronnie accidentally discovering that Geneva is playing around on Isaac, and the anxieties and trepidations that stem from his not knowing what to do. Should he just blurt out the bad news to Isaac, his business partner and longtime best friend? And if he does, will Isaac somehow blame him for Geneva’s betrayal? (Guilt by association.) Should he mind his own business and stay out of the lives of others?
“I was immediately repelled by Ronnie’s response because — hello? — there’s only one thing to do. In such a situation his loyalty would be to his longtime friend, not the wife, and so one way or the other he’d have to share what he suspects. No guy would have to think about this. He’d start out by stressing to his pal that he doesn’t really ‘know’ anything but that he’s seen something disturbing and that maybe something’s up, etc. And then he’d suggest that the friend might want to hire a shamus to learn the facts or whatever. But come what may you must share what you’ve seen and/or suspect.
“The fact that jabbering Ronnie — a guy who’s in denial about almost everything, and who fibs all the time like Alibi Ike and has trust issues with everyone — hems and haws throughout the story is infuriating. By my sights the guy has no convictions or cojones, and who wants to spend 110 minutes with a 13 year-old who mostly goes ‘homina-homina-homina’ when faced with a serious issue?”