January 14, 2011 at 1:00 am

Tom Long Film Review: 'The Dilemma' -- GRADE: B-

Review: Vaughn an anchor in rocky 'The Dilemma'

Vince Vaughn, center, wrestles with whether to tell best friend Kevin James about his wife’s infidelity in the Ron Howard comedy “The Dilemma.” (Universal Pictures)

Let's have a toast for Vince Vaughn, shall we? In "The Dilemma," director Ron Howard's messy, convoluted comedy about the importance of telling the truth, Vaughn plays one of his trademark guy's guys who's always in riff mode and sprays words like verbal machine gun fire. There's no one that's better at this stuff than he is, and even when the movie around him is half-cocked — the case here, as with most of his recent projects — Vaughn is able to elevate the material several notches. Once again, he's the best part of an otherwise blah movie.

The good thing is there's plenty of him to go around. Vaughn's character is the center of "The Dilemma," and he's able to rip loose several times.

There's a scene with Vaughn brandishing a makeshift blowtorch that's an absolute howler, and a toast he gives at a family dinner party is a Vince Vaughn classic. When he is on, "The Dilemma" hums along. But everything else in the movie is working against him.

The dilemma at the center of "The Dilemma" is whether Vaughn's character, Chicago auto man Ronny Valentine, should tell his best friend, Nick (Kevin James), that his wife, Geneva (Winona Ryder), is cheating on him.

The answer, of course, is yes. But Allan Loeb's script is full of contrivances that stand in the way of Valentine telling Nick the truth, and the ensuing chain of events plays out in increasingly ridiculous ways.

But Vaughn — who is becoming to Chicago what Ben Affleck is to Boston — makes the most of the material, and his performance saves the film.

He chews a big hole through the center of the movie, and is the only thing left standing when the credits roll.

'The Dilemma'

GRADE: B-

Rated PG-13: For mature thematic elements involving sexual contentRunning time: 118 minutes

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