“Great moments are born out of great opportunities” is a line oft used in this film. And I’m thinking of suing the makers of the film for non-fulfillment of promises. There was an opportunity for….well…not great moments, but a decent film and they did not take advantage of the opportunities. Instead they just went back to the Vince Vaughn well for the same old, same old. I’m just beginning to wonder how long Vince Vaughn, who I loved originally back in the “Swingers” days but have totally grown tired of, thinks he can go on playing the same fast talking man-child character? For me the welcome was worn out many films ago.
Ronny Valentine (Vince Vaughn – The Break-Up, Wedding Crashers) and Nick Brannen (Kevin James – from television’s King of Queens) work together and are best friends. They run a company that designs mechanical improvements for cars and have been best friends since meeting at college. Ronny is a confirmed bachelor, who is living with a woman named Beth (Jennifer Connelly – Requiem for a Dream, House of Sand and Fog) while Nick has been married for fourteen years to the love of his life, Geneva (Winona Ryder – Girl, Interrupted, Black Swan).
This is a stressful point in all their lives as Ronny and Nick are vying for a big contract with automotive giant, Chrysler, and Ronny is also contemplating proposing to Beth. Beth has, unbeknownst to Ronny, been offered the great opportunity of opening her own restaurant in Las Vegas. Nick is the brains behind the company whereas Ronny is the salesman/smooth talker, so he is under the gun trying to develop the technology of making electric muscle cars that offer the driver the same performance, vibrations and sounds as if they were driving the original muscle cars. If they win this job then they will get a long term contract with Chrysler which will make each man financially comfortable. Ronny, a reformed gambler, has saved up enough money to buy Beth an engagement ring and is scoping out a botanical garden as the place he wants to propose to her. While there he sees Geneva kissing another man (Channing Tatum – Dear John, Public Enemies). Oh oh, moral dilemma.
Ronny is at a loss; he doesn’t know what to do. Should he tell his best friend at this stressful time in their professional lives and run the risk of ruining Nick’s marriage and their chance at the Chrysler contract? Should he confront Geneva? Ask Beth for advice? What does the Guy Code say to do in this situation? Stay tuned to find out…
While watching the credits I was still perplexed about what kind of movie this was. Was it a farce? Well, there were a couple of funny parts, but it didn’t have any dark humour. Was it a drama? Well, there were a couple of serious moments, but they were just awkwardly inserted in at seemingly random intervals. Did it do either genre justice? Or was it just too much of a mish mash?
Confused I just began to think that it was just a case of director Ron Howard (Angels & Demons, A Beautiful Mind) not knowing what to do with it and allowing Vince Vaughn’s on screen persona to take over. The rest of the cast seems lost as a result of the overall confusion. Kevin James does his usual over-the-top trying too hard stuff. The ladies in the film are just totally left to their own devices. Queen Latifah is just pointless in the film. Winona Ryder is awful. Jennifer Connelly tries to bring some class and talent to the whole thing and it is just lost in the mess.
And what was the deal with Vince Vaughn’s character’s gambling addiction? It was such a lame subplot that really went nowhere. Just another example of a serious issue being brought up by the film only to be abandoned just as quickly.
Even the funny parts were uncomfortable. I would chuckle then feel bad about it. Like I was questioning whether it was proper to laugh at the uncomfortable things happening to these people. Not that you cannot find some humour to mine in marriage, a cheating spouse, rage, violence, dying fish, or a lying best friend, but it has to be really quite dark and that is not the approach taken with this film.