What a misfire this movie is. I am not sure why this movie turned out so badly. A relationship comedy, starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James, directed by Ron Howard, would seem like a sure fire winner on paper. So what happened?
First off the story itself is quite weak and clichéd. The script by Allan Loeb creates a dilemma where a man sees his best friends wife cheating with another man, and he debates on whether to tell him or not. Seems simple enough but it does not prove to be enough story to sustain a full length movie.
Vince Vaughn plays Ronny Valentine and Kevin James plays his business partner and best friend, Nick Brannen. Together they work to design fuel efficient engines that retain the sound and design of traditional muscle cars.
Nick is married to Geneva (Winona Ryder) and together they have a seemingly happy marriage. Their relationship is idolized by Ronny and his girlfriend Beth (Jennifer Connelly). But Ronny’s world is shattered when he sees Geneva kissing another guy while he is planning his perfect proposal to Beth. This results in an unfunny sequence where Ronny feels the effects of a few poisonous plants.
The rest of the movie follows Ronny as he struggles with whether to tell Nick or not. This leads to Beth witnessing Ronny acting suspiciously, causing her to think he is off the wagon and gambling again. Seems their relationship went through a rough patch a few years ago due to his addiction. This caused a dilemma with me as to why he let this go on for so long instead of just telling Beth what was up.
Ron Howard is one of the best directors working today. I enjoy his work because he does not restrict himself to one type of film. He enjoys doing thrillers, dramas, action films and of course comedies. This is his first straight forward comedy in a while and the result is a film that keeps shifting uneasily between slap stick comedy and over the top melodrama.
Vaughn and James are very talented and I think the world of both of them but here they are not given a lot to do. I felt like they were contained too much. I had the same problem with James in “Grown Ups”. There is one scene where Vaughn is allowed to let his darker side loose when he gives a searing toast at a 50th anniversary dinner for his girlfriends parents. Now if the whole movie had been like this might have been something special.