The Dilemma

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Dilemma Movie Poster Image
Friendship comedy veers into serious territory.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 118 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Although much of the movie revolves around issues related to infidelity, ultimately the message is that good friendships are based on honesty, as are solid, long-standing marriages.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The two main characters are loyal to each other and watch each other’s backs. Other characters are less upstanding, with some cheating, etc.


A man hits another with a baseball bat. He also brandishes a gun, point-blank, at the other. A man sucker-punches another, drawing blood. Characters scream at each other.


References to "doing tricks," "happy ending" massages, and other sexual innuendoes. A couple makes out in a public place. The plot centers around an affair.


Swearing includes one use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "a--hole," "damn," "prick," "hell," "ass," "goddamn," and "screw."


Logos are visible for Toyota and General Motors. Also lots of name-dropping, including Chrysler, Dodge, Pontiac, Toyota, Mad Men, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Allusions to drug use, though viewers see nothing. A man talks about being high on Oxycontin. Lots of social drinking, including beer, wine, and champagne.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Ron Howard-directed buddy comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James takes a serious swerve pretty quickly, delving into the subject of infidelity and how it wrecks a marriage. As such, it's probably too heavy for tweens and younger teens. You can also expect some crass moments in Vaughn’s riffs (including one about "doing tricks"), making out, and sexual innuendo. Language is fairly salty, including one use of "f--k" (plus "s--t," "a--hole," and more), and there’s some drinking. All of that said, the movie ultimately has a positive message about the importance of honesty in good friendships and marriages.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysmmatthias June 16, 2015

Beware of nudity

I bought this movie after reading the reviews, only to find out that there was nudity in one scene that wasn't mentioned anywhere. The movie went in the ga... Continue reading
Adult Written byzeekattacklee January 21, 2015

The Dilemma Review

It was worth watching.. The Film itself does not come out very innocent for young children and it did have a scene of sexual material followed by quite a bi... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byRobbyboyfye16 January 17, 2012


stupi movie ever
Teen, 15 years old Written byTotally500 May 29, 2011

The Dilemma is a ride

I think this is afine movie however it is a crazy and weird film that has many ups and downs

What's the story?

Ronny (Vince Vaughn) and his best friend, Nick (Kevin James), are convinced that they have the next best thing when it comes to electric cars. A major car company agrees, allowing the friends a pivotal meeting during which they can unveil their prototype. But Ronny suddenly has a lot on his mind. He wants to finally propose to his devoted girlfriend, Beth (Jennifer Connelly), but that’s not what’s truly eating at him. The bigger issue is that he just witnessed Nick’s wife, Geneva (Winona Ryder), canoodling with someone else. Hence Ronny's dilemma: Should he tell Nick?

Is it any good?

It only takes a few minutes before you're reminded that THE DILEMMA is a Vince Vaughn vehicle, thanks to a hilarious riff that explodes in tangential directions. (In other words, Vaughn does exactly what he's done in pretty much all of his movies.) He and James have great chemistry, which works for the movie's buddy comedy aspects.

But a funny thing -- or, rather, an odd thing -- happens on the way to the ending: The movie shifts in tone and becomes serious, creating imbalance and, to some extent, confusion. Is this a comedy? A drama? A relationship how-to? The Dilemma can’t decide. (Perhaps that’s why Queen Latifah’s turn as an auto exec seems woefully underemphasized.) And that’s its own essential dilemma.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages about relationships -- both friendships and romantic connections. Do the characters learn anything over the course of the movie? What, if anything, can their experiences teach teens about relationships?

  • Who do you think the movie's target audience is? How can you tell?

  • Have you ever found yourself in a hard-to-call situation where being honest was difficult? What did you do?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love to laugh

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