“30 Minutes or Less” and “The Dilemma”: Both Faced Problems, but Are Worth Viewing

“Panicking”..draw out the last syllable and emphasize it, and you will sound like Doug Heffernan (Kevin James) on King of Queens. Doug does not normally panic, unlike Nick, the character he plays in “The Dilemma”. Nick is a workaholic, who has mild anxiety attacks and an ulcer.

Nick’s problems are not a subplot of the movie, and are unlikely to warrant mention in reviews of “The Dilemma”. Advertised as a comedy, “The Dilemma” tackles some serious issues. Similiar to “30 Minutes or Less”, “The Dilemma” was a box office disappointment that faced controversy before it was released.

Both “30 Minutes” and “The Dilemma” have a mix of comedy and drama that left some viewers squirming in their seats (“30 Minutes” is lighter in tone and fared significantly better in getting laughs). The two movies have much merit though. “30 Minutes” succeeds as a black comedy, and its controversy can be defended . Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) and Chet (Aziz Ansari) have a strong friendship, as do Nick and Ronny (Vince Vaughn) in “The Dilemma”.

The strength of Nick’s and Ronny’s friendship is one of the reasons the “gay” joke controversy can be defended. In this case, Ronny jokes in the movie, “Electric cars are gay..not homosexual gay, but your parents are chaperoning the dance gay.” Vaughn has stated in interviews that those behind the movie did not think the joke was being used in a derogatory way. In the last scene of the “The Dilemma”, Nick and Ronny express their caring for each other in a way that would make some heterosexual men uncomfortable. It is a scene that plays with the idea of what society considers acceptable male behavior.

Gender roles are also played with in several other scenes. Susan (Queen Latifah) is a car executive, a position in which the majority of her co-workers are men. Excited for the project Nick and Ronny are doing, she refers to having “lady wood”. A lot of viewers have questioned the purpose of the Susan character, who is not in the movie much. She is there is to provide a female perspective that Nick and Ronny are not used to.

Another strength of “The Dilemma” comes from the various moral questions the movie presents, which could spark an interesting discussion between friends. Is Nick, who is regularly getting “happy ending” massages, cheating on his wife, Geneva (Winona Ryder)? Does this provide any justification for her affair? Geneva says she is not getting sex from Nick, and viewers can see that he will not give her attention if he is working on a big project.

Like “30 Minutes or Less”, the mix between the serious and funny scenes in “The Dilemma” feels a bit uneven at times.”The Dilemma” viewers, who expected to see a comedy based on the Vaughn/James casting, were caught off guard, similiar to viewers who went to see Adam Sandler’s turn in “Punch-Drunk Love.” But due to the interesting topics the movie raises, and the movie’s positive interpretation of marriage, “The Dilemma” is a worthwhile film.



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