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The Dilemma is a 2011 American dark comedy film directed by Ron Howard, written by Allan Loeb and starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James.[3] The film follows savvy businessman Ronny (Vaughn) and genius engineer Nick (James) who are best friends and partners in an auto design firm. They are pursuing a project to make their firm famous. Ronny sees Nick's wife Geneva (Winona Ryder) kissing another man (Channing Tatum). Ronny seeks out answers and has to figure out how to tell Nick about what he saw while working with him to complete their critical presentation.[4]

The Dilemma
Vaughn and James stand side-by-side, wearing tie-less dress shirts and blazers.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRon Howard
Produced by
Written byAllan Loeb
Music by
CinematographySalvatore Totino
Edited by
Distributed byUniversal Pictures[1]
Release date
  • January 14, 2011 (2011-01-14)
Running time
118 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[1]
Budget$70 million[2]
Box office$69.7 million[2]

It was filmed entirely in Chicago, Illinois. The Dilemma was released by Universal Pictures in the United States and Canada on January 14, 2011, to poor reviews and performed poorly at the box office, failing to recoup its $70 million production budget.



Ronny (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Kevin James) are best friends and partners in a small auto design firm. Ronny is in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend Beth (Jennifer Connelly) while Nick is married to Geneva (Winona Ryder). The two have recently been given an opportunity to pitch an eco friendly car to Dodge.

While at a botanical gardens planning a way to propose marriage to Beth, Ronny sees Geneva kissing a man named Zip (Channing Tatum). He comes home upset, but lies to Beth about the reason, causing her to worry that the stress of work has caused a recurrence of Ronny's gambling addiction.

Ronny makes up his mind to inform Nick about Geneva's infidelity, but puts it off after Nick expresses stress about their work. He meets with Geneva, who promises that the affair is over and that she will tell Nick as soon as the big project is finished. Ronny subsequently discovers her and Zip continuing their relationship. Geneva then threatens to accuse Ronny of hitting on her and tell Nick about a fling they had had back in college.

Ronny follows Geneva to Zip's house and photographs the two of them together but becomes trapped inside and misses his in-laws' anniversary party. Ronny's increasingly erratic behavior leads his friends to think that he has begun gambling again. They hold an intervention for him but Ronny explains the truth behind his actions and Geneva admits to the affair. Later, Nick and Ronny have their design accepted by Dodge and Ronny proposes to Beth.



The Dilemma is directed by Ron Howard and written by Allan Loeb. The film was Howard's first comedy film since he directed How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 2000. The film was first announced in January 2010 as an untitled project when actor Vince Vaughn signed on for a starring role. The premise was conceived by producer Brian Grazer, Howard's production partner at Imagine Entertainment; Loeb wrote the script.[5] Actor Kevin James was cast alongside Vaughn in February.[6] The film continues "Vaughn's interest in tackling the dark areas of relationships", following The Break-Up (2006) and Couples Retreat (2009). The darker moments of the latter film were omitted from the final edit.[5]

With a budget of $70 million,[7] filming took place entirely in Chicago, Illinois, from late May 2010 to mid-August 2010.[8] The film, which was called Cheaters and What You Don't Know during production, was ultimately titled The Dilemma by Universal.[9]

Language in advertisingEdit

When Universal released the trailer for The Dilemma, the studio drew complaints about the pejorative use of "gay" in Vaughn's line in the trailer's opening scene, "Electric cars are gay. I mean, not homosexual gay, but my-parents-are-chaperoning-the-dance gay." Universal said it contacted the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) about the line before the trailer was released, and GLAAD said the step indicated the studio knew the line was problematic. Universal received complaints when the trailer appeared online before in theaters, and the studio sought to work with GLAAD to prepare a new trailer. Before action was taken, the line was first publicly criticized by journalist Anderson Cooper in a story about gay bullying on his show Anderson Cooper 360°. Universal and GLAAD disputed each other's actions toward remedy, and GLAAD requested for the trailer to be removed and for the line to be removed from the film itself. Ultimately, the studio released a new trailer without the offending line.[10] Universal deferred to Howard, who had final cut privilege, to decide about removing the line from the film, and the director chose to keep it. Howard supported the removal of the line from advertising, but he justified his decision to keep it in the film, saying, "If storytellers, comedians, actors and artists are strong-armed into making creative changes, it will endanger comedy as both entertainment and a provoker of thought."[11]


Theatrical runEdit

The Dilemma had its world premiere in Chicago on January 6, 2011.[12] The film was commercially released in 2,940 theaters in the United States and Canada on January 14, 2011. It grossed a four-day total of $20.5 million over the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday weekend, ranking second at the box office after fellow opener The Green Hornet.[2] Prior to The Dilemma's release, Variety reported that with The Green Hornet attracting young people, The Dilemma was expected to serve as counterprogramming, attracting people 25 years old and up. Universal had expected the film to gross in the mid-teen millions.[13] Exit polling showed that 60% of the audience was female and that 58% were 30 years old and up.[14] According to CinemaScore, audiences gave the film a "B" grade.[15] While adult audiences generally shy away from films' opening weekends, The Dilemma performed above the studio's expectations. The Dilemma also opened in four territories outside the United States and Canada, grossing $1.8 million. The film's opening in Australia grossed $1.4 million despite floods in Queensland and in Victoria affecting 14% of the area's theaters.[16]

The Dilemma's opening was a relative low for the film's stars. Vaughn's previous films Couples Retreat (2009) and Four Christmases (2008) grossed twice The Dilemma's amount on their opening weekends. James had appeared in Grown Ups (2010) and Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009), both of which also had stronger openings. According to Box Office Mojo, The Dilemma was weakly advertised, especially compared to The Green Hornet. It reported, "Blink-and-you-miss-them television ads failed to convey the premise or provide laughs. Dilemma's premise of a man learning his friend's wife is cheating and debating whether to tell the friend or not wasn't much of a dilemma, and it wasn't as comedically charged as Vaughn's other relationship comedies."[14]

The film grossed $48.4 million in the United States and Canada and $21.7 million in other territories for a worldwide gross of $70.2 million.[2]

Critical responseEdit

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 24%, based on 156 reviews, with a rating average rating of 4.3/10. The site's consensus states: "It boasts a likable cast and an interesting premise, but The Dilemma can't decide what to do with them; the result is an uneven blend of cheesy slapstick and surprisingly dark comedy."[17] Metacritic gives the film a score of 46 out of 100, based on 32 critics, "mixed or average reviews".[18] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B on scale of A to F.[19]

Home mediaEdit

The DVD and Blu-ray was released on May 3, 2011, in the US. It made $6,521,426 from DVD sales.[20]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "The Dilemma (2011)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Dilemma (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  3. ^ "The Dilemma". Turner Classic Movies. United States: Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  4. ^ "The Dilemma". CraveOnline. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Kit, Borys (January 6, 2010). "Vince Vaughn, Ron Howard eye cheating picture". The Hollywood Reporter. Reuters.
  6. ^ Kit, Borys (February 22, 2010). "Kevin James to co-star in Ron Howard film". The Hollywood Reporter. Reuters.
  7. ^ Fritz, Ben (January 13, 2011). "Movie projector: 'Green Hornet' has plenty of buzz, 'The Dilemma' may have a problem". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  8. ^ Metz, Nina (June 24, 2010). "Duck! It's a 'Transformers 3' invasion". Chicago Tribune.
  9. ^ "Vince Vaughn, Kevin James hope third title for new movie is a charmer". Chicago Tribune. July 29, 2010.
  10. ^ Kilday, Gregg (October 12, 2010). "'Dilemma' dispute hurts studio and gay rights group". The Hollywood Reporter. Reuters.
  11. ^ Goldstein, Patrick; Rainey, James (October 29, 2010). "Ron Howard on 'The Dilemma's' gay joke: It stays in the movie". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  12. ^ D'Zurilla, Christie (January 7, 2011). "Vince Vaughn, pregnant Jennifer Connelly at 'The Dilemma' premiere". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  13. ^ Stewart, Andrew (January 14, 2011). "Studios seek holiday green". Variety.
  14. ^ a b Gray, Brandon (January 16, 2011). "'Green Hornet' Kicks Into Top Gear Over MLK Weekend". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
  15. ^ McClintock, Pamela (January 16, 2011). "'Green Hornet' Tops Soft Weekend Box Office With $34 Million". The Hollywood Reporter.
  16. ^ Stewart, Andrew (January 16, 2011). "'Hornet' buzzes over holiday B.O." Variety.
  17. ^ "The Dilemma Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  18. ^ "The Dilemma". Metacritic. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  19. ^ "Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  20. ^

External linksEdit