The Dilemma

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]

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.

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
Running time
118 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[1]
Budget$70 million[2]
Box office$69.7 million[2]


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 advertising

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 run

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 response

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]

Home media

The DVD and Blu-ray was released on May 3, 2011, in the US. It made $6,521,426 from DVD sales.[19]


  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. ^

External links

Alethic modality

Alethic modality (from Greek ἀλήθεια = truth) is a linguistic modality that indicates modalities of truth, in particular the modalities of logical necessity, possibility or impossibility.Alethic modality is often associated with epistemic modality in research, and it has been questioned whether this modality should be considered distinct from epistemic modality which denotes the speaker's evaluation or judgment of the truth. The criticism states that there is no real difference between "the truth in the world" (alethic) and "the truth in an individual's mind" (epistemic). An investigation has not found a single language in which alethic and epistemic modalities would be formally distinguished, for example by the means of a grammatical mood. In such a language, "A circle can't be square", "can't be" would be expressed by an alethic mood, whereas for "He can't be that wealthy", "can't be" would be expressed by an epistemic mood. As we can see, this is not a distinction drawn in English grammar.

"You can't give these plants too much water." is a well-known play on the distinction between perhaps alethic and hortatory or injunctive modalities. The dilemma is fairly easily resolved when listening through paralinguistic cues and particularly suprasegmental cues (intonation). So while there may not be a morphologically based alethic mood, this does not seem to preclude the usefulness of distinguishing between these two types of modes. Alethic modality might then concern what are considered to be apodictic statements.

Amy Morton

Amy Morton (born January 1, 1958) is an American actress and director, best known for her work in theatre. Morton was nominated two times for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performances in August: Osage County and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. On screen, she is known for her performances in films Rookie of the Year (1993), Up in the Air (2009), The Dilemma (2011) and Bluebird (2013). In 2014, Morton began starring as Sergeant Trudy Platt in the NBC drama series Chicago P.D.

Channing Tatum

Channing Matthew Tatum (born April 26, 1980) is an American actor and singer. Tatum made his film debut in the drama film Coach Carter (2005). His breakthrough role was in the 2006 dance film Step Up, which introduced him to a wider audience. He is known for his portrayal of the character Duke in the 2009 action film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and its 2013 sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Although both G.I. Joe films received negative reviews from critics, they were commercially successful, grossing more than $300 million each at the box office.

Tatum is also known for his leading role in Magic Mike (2012), and its sequel, Magic Mike XXL (2015) which he produced; he also starred in the action-comedy film 21 Jump Street and its 2014 sequel, 22 Jump Street. He appeared in romantic films such as Dear John (2010) and The Vow (2012). His other films include She's the Man (2006), The Dilemma (2011), White House Down (2013), the drama Foxcatcher (2014), The Hateful Eight (2015), Hail, Caesar! (2016), and Logan Lucky (2017).

Chicken or the egg

The chicken or the egg causality dilemma is commonly stated as "which came first: the chicken or the egg?". The dilemma stems from the observation that all chickens hatch from eggs and all chicken eggs are laid by chickens. "Chicken-and-egg" is a metaphoric adjective describing situations where it is not clear which of two events should be considered the cause and which should be considered the effect, to express a scenario of infinite regress, or to express the difficulty of sequencing actions where each seems to depend on others being done first. Plutarch posed the question as a philosophical matter in his essay "The Symposiacs", written in the 1st century CE.


A cliffhanger, or cliffhanger ending, is a plot device in fiction which features a main character in a precarious or difficult dilemma, or confronted with a shocking revelation at the end of an episode of serialized fiction. A cliffhanger is hoped to incentivize the audience to return to see how the characters resolve the dilemma.

Some serials end with the caveat "To Be Continued…" or "The End?" In movie serials and television series, the following episode sometimes begins with a recap sequence.

Collingridge dilemma

The Collingridge dilemma is a methodological quandary in which efforts to influence or control the further development of technology face a double-bind problem:

An information problem: impacts cannot be easily predicted until the technology is extensively developed and widely used.

A power problem: control or change is difficult when the technology has become entrenched.The idea was coined by David Collingridge, The University of Aston, Technology Policy Unit, in his 1980 book The Social Control of Technology. The dilemma is a basic point of reference in technology assessment debates.In "This Explains Everything," edited by John Brockman, technology critic Evgeny Morozov explains Collingridge's idea by quoting Collingridge himself: "When change is easy, the need for it cannot be foreseen; when the need for change is apparent, change has become expensive, difficult, and time-consuming." In "The Pacing Problem, the Collingridge Dilemma & Technological Determinism" by Adam Thierer, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the Collingridge dilemma is related to the "pacing problem" in technology regulation. The "pacing problem" refers to the notion that technological innovation is increasingly outpacing the ability of laws and regulations to keep up, first explained in Larry Downes' 2009 book The Laws of Disruption, in which he famously states that "technology changes exponentially, but social, economic, and legal systems change incrementally". In Thierer's essay, he tries to correlate these two concepts by saying that "the 'Collingridge dilemma' is simply a restatement of the pacing problem but with greater stress on the social drivers behind the pacing problem and an implicit solution to 'the problem' in the form of preemptive control of new technologies while they are still young and more manageable."A widely-adopted solution to Collingridge dilemma is the "Precautionary Principle", the belief that new innovations should not be embraced "until their developers can prove that they will not cause any harm to individuals, groups, specific entities, cultural norms, or various existing laws, norms, or traditions". If they fail to do so, this innovation should be "prohibited, curtailed, modified, junked, or ignored". This approach received criticisms from technology critics like Kevin Kelly who believe the contour of such principle is ill-defined and such principle is biased against anything new because it drastically elevates threshold for anything innovative. According to American philosopher Max More, the Precautionary Principle "is very good for one thing—stopping technological progress...not because it leads in bad directions, but because it leads in no direction at all."


Dasein (German pronunciation: [ˈdaːzaɪn]) is a German word that means "being there" or "presence" (German: da "there"; sein "being"), and is often translated into English with the word "existence". It is a fundamental concept in the existential philosophy of Martin Heidegger, particularly in his magnum opus Being and Time. Heidegger uses the expression Dasein to refer to the experience of being that is peculiar to human beings. Thus it is a form of being that is aware of and must confront such issues as personhood, mortality and the dilemma or paradox of living in relationship with other humans while being ultimately alone with oneself.


A dilemma (Greek: δίλημμα "double proposition") is a problem offering two possibilities, neither of which is unambiguously acceptable or preferable. The possibilities are termed the horns of the dilemma, a clichéd usage, but distinguishing the dilemma from other kinds of predicament as a matter of usage.

Donald's Dilemma

Donald's Dilemma is a 1947 Walt Disney Studios animated cartoon directed by Jack King and starring Donald and Daisy Duck. It was originally released on July 11, 1947 in the United States. This short is somewhat of a misnomer. Although Donald is the official headliner for this cartoon, Daisy is the actual protagonist. The dilemma of the title is actually offered to her, not to Donald.

Euthyphro dilemma

The Euthyphro dilemma is found in Plato's dialogue Euthyphro, in which Socrates asks Euthyphro, "Is the pious (τὸ ὅσιον) loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?" (10a) It implies that if moral authority must come from the gods it does not have to be good, and if moral authority must be good it does not have to come from the gods – a highly controversial idea at the time Socrates first presented it.Although it was originally applied to the ancient Greek pantheon, the dilemma has implications for modern monotheistic religions. Gottfried Leibniz asked whether the good and just "is good and just because God wills it or whether God wills it because it is good and just". Ever since Plato's original discussion, this question has presented a problem for some theists, though others have thought it a false dilemma, and it continues to be an object of theological and philosophical discussion today.

Gene Honda

Eugene "Gene" Honda is a popular public address announcer for the Chicago White Sox (starting in 1985, full-time since 1991), Chicago Blackhawks (succeeding Harvey Wittenberg since the 2001–02 season), DePaul Blue Demons basketball, Big Ten Tournament, Illinois Fighting Illini football, and the NCAA Final Four (since 2010). He is also a constant voice on Chicago's PBS station WTTW Channel 11, the Big Ten Network, and the Chicago Marathon. He formerly worked for radio station WLAK (now WLIT) in Chicago. Honda was the PA announcer for the 2009 NHL Winter Classic on January 1 at Wrigley Field. Also, Honda was the PA announcer for the 2012 Frozen Four at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.Honda is the only person in the world to have announced at the MLB World Series, Major League Baseball All Star Game, NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, NCAA Final Four, NCAA Frozen Four, and a World Class Marathon.

Gene graduated from Chicago's Senn High School in 1972.

Honda attended the University of Illinois, graduating in 1978. He is a member of Triangle Fraternity.

Honda appeared briefly in the 1990 film Opportunity Knocks as Mr. Nimoku.Gene Honda also is a teacher for the After School Matters (ASM) Sports Broadcasting program at Curie High School for the past 10 years.

On October 11, 2008, Honda was inducted into the Illini Media Alumni Hall of Fame. 2008 Illini Media Hall of Fame inductees

Honda made an appearance in Ron Howard's film The Dilemma, starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James, as himself.

Honda is perhaps the only public address announcer to have his own talking bobble head. He is shown sitting at a desk with a microphone in front of him. A part of the proceeds from sales of the item are donated to media education programs at his alma mater, the University of Illinois.



Hagakure (Kyūjitai: 葉隱; Shinjitai: 葉隠; meaning Hidden by the Leaves or hidden leaves), or Hagakure Kikigaki (葉隠聞書), is a practical and spiritual guide for a warrior, drawn from a collection of commentaries by the clerk Yamamoto Tsunetomo, former retainer to Nabeshima Mitsushige, the third ruler of what is now Saga Prefecture in Japan. Tashiro Tsuramoto compiled these commentaries from his conversations with Tsunetomo from 1709 to 1716; however, it was not published until many years afterwards. Written during a time when there was no officially sanctioned samurai fighting, the book grapples with the dilemma of maintaining a warrior class in the absence of war and reflects the author's nostalgia for a world that had disappeared before he was born. Hagakure was largely forgotten for two centuries after its composition, but it came to be viewed as the definitive guide of the samurai during the Pacific War. Hagakure is also known as The Book of the Samurai, Analects of Nabeshima or Hagakure Analects.

Predicament bondage

Predicament bondage is a form of bondage, typically in which a person is restrained with an option of placing themself in one of a pair of uncomfortable positions, which are sufficiently uncomfortable that the person is forced to shift after a time to the other position. The default position is typically intended to cause muscle fatigue, such as standing on tiptoe, which forces the subject to choose a more physically painful position, for example letting themselves lower their weight and stand regularly while forcing a rope attached to their genitals to pull taut and cause pain.

Predicament bondage can also involve the use of a single position in which remaining still will not cause any discomfort for the subject, but moving their body will pull on ropes, weights or other devices meant to cause them pain. The subject may then be tickled, sexually pleasured or otherwise enticed to move uncontrollably.When performed with multiple submissive participants, a predicament bondage scenario may force one to choose a position that causes pain to the other whom they know and love. The dilemma of being able to spare a loved one pain by submitting to pain, or sparing oneself from pain by submitting another to it, is used in BDSM and power exchange play.

Sandra Louise Vogelgesang

Sandra Louise Vogelgesang (born 1942) was a senior foreign service officer and policy planner for the U.S. State Department.

Some May Live

Some May Live, also known as In Saigon Some May Live, is a 1967 British war film directed by Vernon Sewell and starring Peter Cushing, Joseph Cotten and Martha Hyer. During the Vietnam War, a security leak in Saigon has to be plugged, when American decoder Kate Meredith is faced with the dilemma of her husband pressuring her to give him information.

The Fighting Seabees

The Fighting Seabees is a 1944 war film starring John Wayne and Susan Hayward. The picture portrays a heavily fictionalized account of the dilemma that led to the creation of the U.S. Navy's "Seabees" in World War II. The supporting cast includes Dennis O'Keefe and William Frawley, and the movie was directed by Edward Ludwig.

The Perfect Wagnerite

The Perfect Wagnerite: A Commentary on the Niblung's Ring (originally published London, 1898) is a philosophical commentary on Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, by the Irish writer George Bernard Shaw.

Shaw offered it to those enthusiastic admirers of Wagner who "were unable to follow his ideas, and do not in the least understand the dilemma of Wotan." According to Shaw:

I write this pamphlet for the assistance of those who wish to be introduced to the work on equal terms with that inner circle of adepts...The reason is that its dramatic moments lie quite outside the consciousness of people whose joys and sorrows are all domestic and personal, and whose religions and political ideas are purely conventional and superstitious. To them it is a struggle between half a dozen fairytale personages for a ring, involving hours of scolding and cheating, and one long scene in a dark gruesome mine, with gloomy, ugly music, and not a glimpse of a handsome young man or pretty woman. Only those of wider consciousness can follow it breathlessly, seeing in it the whole tragedy of human history and the whole horror of the dilemmas from which the world is shrinking today.

Shaw interprets the Ring in Marxian terms as an allegory of the collapse of capitalism from its internal contradictions. Musicologically, his interpretation is noteworthy for its perception of the change in aesthetic direction beginning with the final scene of Siegfried, in which he claimed that the cycle turns from Musikdrama back towards opera.

United States Military Academy class ring

The cadets of the United States Military Academy first began the practice of wearing class rings in 1835. The United States Military Academy class ring has traditionally been worn on the left hand, but most recent graduates choose to wear it on their right hand, which is likely in response to the dilemma posed by wearing both a West Point ring and a wedding ring on the same finger.Some graduates choose to wear both on their left hand. While at West Point, the ring is worn so that the class crest is worn to the inside and closest to one's heart. Upon graduation, the ring is worn so that the West Point crest is closest to the heart.

Vince Vaughn

Vincent Anthony Vaughn (born March 28, 1970) is an American actor, producer, screenwriter, and comedian.

Vaughn began acting in the late 1980s, appearing in minor television roles before attaining wider recognition with the 1996 comedy-drama film Swingers. He has appeared in a number of films in the 1990s, including the sports film Rudy (1993), the sci-fi adventure dinosaur film The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), and the drama-thriller Return to Paradise (1998).

Other than his dramatic role in The Cell (2000), in the 2000s he acted primarily in comedies, including Old School (2003), Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004), Wedding Crashers (2005), The Break-Up (2006), Fred Claus (2007), and Four Christmases (2008). He continued his comedic roles in the 2010s with The Dilemma (2011), The Watch (2012), and The Internship (2013). In 2015, he starred as Frank Semyon in the second season of the HBO anthology crime drama television series True Detective alongside Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams, and since then has taken dramatic roles such as in Hacksaw Ridge and Brawl in Cell Block 99.

Films directed by Ron Howard
Feature films
Films produced
Films written
TV series created


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