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The Ron Howard “Dilemma”

This Friday, Vince Vaughn and Kevin James’ new film The Dilemma will open. The trailer shows a guy (Vaughn) and his business partner (James), who are thrown into humorous situations when the former spots the latter’s wife in the seductive clutches of another man. 

The trailer looks pretty decent. Nothing particularly groundbreaking, but it looks like it’s got some funny moments. I have cougar crushes on Winona Ryder and Jennifer Connelly, who play the standard hot spouses the fatass funny guys always have in these sort of movies. Doesn’t look that bad for a film released in January.  

However, I will be in a seat on opening day to watch this film, and excited to do so. Where does this action that’s seemingly incongruent with my prior paragraph come from? Well, I’ll tell you: it’s not because I’m assigned to review it (okay, maybe a bit), but because Ron Howard’s directing. I’ve written before that there are some directors whose name puts my ass in a seat, regardless of what the trailer shows. There could be a trailer up on my screen that was two and a half minutes of paint drying, but if at the end it said “Directed by Martin Scorsese,” you could bet your balls I’d be there opening day. 

Ron Howard, though he doesn’t have quite the pull that Scorsese or Spielberg or Tarantino do, has enough to make me hand over the cash equivalent of 42 minutes of working time to see his film. The man shows a true zest for his profession, which in turn is manifested in his movies. He reminds me oddly enough of the Coen brothers, each seemingly trying to successfully attack every genre film has to offer. 

And both have done so. Howard has successfully tackled comedy, action, drama, period pieces,and westerns to critical and audience acclaim alike. Just look at films like Splash, Backdraft, Cocoon, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Ransom, Far and Away, each a successful entry in their respective genres. Sure, like any director, he’s got a couple misses there, too. EdTV sucked (it did all by itself, but it certainly didn’t help that The Truman Show was released alongside it also). Even Spielberg made 1941. 

 I think it's a pre-requisite for entering directing to have a photograph of your hands like this.

Yes it was a tad surprising seeing his name on the poster for The Dilemma. His most recent efforts are the two Dan Brown mysteries and Frost/Nixon, not exactly comedy gold mines. But it got me thinking of how lucky we as audience members are to have a director with such talent also have the desire to explore humanity in all the genres of my favorite art form. It makes for some good movie-watchin’, and even when these good directors make a lemon, it’s still fun to dissect just where they went wrong and why. It’s entirely possible you’ll get a taste of that on Friday when my review comes out. (Let’s be honest, The Dilemma doesn’t exactly look like Oscar gold, cougars or not.) 

I guess the point of my rambling is that I’m glad there’s a good director out there willing to try new things. Who knows, maybe my next surprise will be Quentin Tarantino directing Toy Story 4


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