COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 50min
STARRING: Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum
Friends with secrets: from left, Vaughn and James
Chicago automotive engine designers Ronny Valentine (Vaughn) and Nick Brannen (James) are as close as two peas, and their respective ladies (Connelly and Ryder as Beth and Geneva) are chummy as well. Nick is a scientific genius; Ronny is blessed with the gift of the gab. They’re on track to the big time when Ronny spots Geneva making lovey-dovey with another guy (Tatum). The dilemma: does he tell his best friend at this testing juncture? And by association: how well do we ever know someone, and what would you do?
Director Ron Howard (Angels & Demons) takes cool charge of Alan Loeb’s juicy, eloquent, unguessable screenplay. The mounting strangeness hums along with gutsy work from the key cast and a spotlight-grabbing number from Vaughn as Ronny skirts the edge. The payoff is a wiggy and intense cautionary tale in which everyone has something to hide and honesty packs a brutal punch. But what won the day for me was the shout-out to friendship, in which honesty is also the bottom line.