Ron Howard keeping controversial joke in THE DILEMMA

Joshua Brunsting

by: Joshua Brunsting
November 1st, 2010

Despite sparking quite a bit of controversy, it looks like Ron Howard is going to stand by a hotly discussed joke, no matter how unfunny it is.

According to the LA Times, Howard will be keeping the joke “electric cars are gay” in his upcoming film, THE DILEMA, despite sparking a controversy which found GLAAD demanding the joke be taken out of the film. Brought up by Anderson Cooper earlier in October, Vince Vaughn came out in support of the joke and it looks like Howard will be siding with his leading man. After the break, see what Howard had to say about keeping the joke in the film.

“So why was the joke in the movie?  Our lead character of Ronny Valentine has a mouth that sometimes gets him into trouble and he definitely flirts with the line of what’s okay to say.  He tries to do what’s right but sometimes falls short.  Who can’t relate to that?  I am drawn to films that have a variety of characters with different points of view who clash, conflict and learn to live with each other. THE DILEMMA is a story full of flawed characters whose lives are complicated by the things they say to and hide from each other.  Ronny is far from perfect and he does and says some outrageous things along the way.

Was it in the script or was it a Vince Vaughn ad lib?  Vince is a brilliant improvisational actor, but in this case it was always in the script.  THE DILEMMA is a comedy for grown-ups, not kids.  It’s true that the moment took on extra significance in light of some events that surrounded the release of the trailer and the studio made the decision to remove it from the advertising, which I think was appropriate.  I believe in sensitivity but not censorship. I feel that our film is taking additional heat as an emblem for many movies and TV shows that preceded it that have even more provocative characterizations and language. It is a slight moment in THE DILEMMA meant to demonstrate an aspect of our lead character’s personality, and we never expected it to represent our intentions or the point of view of the movie or those of us who made it.

Did you think it wasn’t offensive?  I don’t strip my films of everything that I might personally find inappropriate. Comedy or drama, I’m always trying to make choices that stir the audience in all kinds of ways. This Ronny Valentine character can be offensive and inappropriate at times and those traits are fundamental to his personality and the way our story works.”

Personally, I frankly don’t give a damn about the joke on a conceptual or a thematic level, I just know that it’s absolutely laugh free. It’s a horribly unfunny joke, which I think ultimately makes the joke feel even more mean spirited than it may or may not be. 

The film hits on January 14, so hopefully the film is better than this dreadful joke. My guess: it’s not.

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