Vince and Liev: A Tale of Two Stars

By: Mike McCrann

Vince Vaughn and Liev Schreiber have a lot in common. They are both about the same age (Liev's 43 and Vince is 40), they both started in films around the same time, they are both dark and stocky (actually let's not mince words—Vaughn is fat!), and both had new movies opening a week ago today.

Vince Vaughn's new film The Dilemma was directed by Ron Howard and cost $75 million dollars. Liev's new film Every Day probably cost around $5 million. One film is awful and the other is pretty good. One opened in hundreds of theaters, one opened in a few art house venues. One film co-starred another gross actor, Kevin James, and one co-starred Academy Award winner Helen Hunt.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, The Dilemma is a disaster and Every Day is a pleasure.

How in the world did The Dilemma cost $75 million dollars? Location shooting in Chicago? Actor/director salaries? How do the Brits make The King's Speech for $12 million and the Americans spend this much money on a piece of crap? And The King's Speech was a period piece requiring extensive set decoration and costumes pertinent to the period.

Clearly the budgets for American films are outrageously out of the control. It's amazing that any little film gets made.

The Dilemma's slim plot has Vince Vaughn catching his best friend's wife making out with a young stud and trying to figure out how to tell him. Jennifer Connelly plays Vaughn's girlfriend and Winona Ryder plays Kevin James' wife, Geneva. Yes, it is that kind of movie!

Vince Vaughn started his career as a sexy leading man with talent in Swingers, followed by Jurassic Park and the ill advised Gus Van Sant remake of Psycho. As his career ballooned, so did his weight. No longer able to play sexy leading men, Vaughn started making trashy comedies like Old School and Wedding Crashers. All of these joyless films made a mint, and I'm sure Vaughn is wealthy. But to see the creative promise of his early films degenerate into junk like The Dilemma is totally depressing. Plus the two female leads together probably weigh about 100 lbs. soaking wet.

And if you think I am paying too much attention to Vince's weight gain, the NY Times in its review stated: "To ask if Mr. Vaughn and Ms. Connelly have any chemistry is to invoke the wrong science; extreme disparities of size and shape suggest, instead, a fascinating problem of zoology, as if a whippet had decided to cohabit with a yak."


In contrast Liev Schreiber is a real actor and a sexy hunk at the same time. Every Day is not a great film by any means, but it does have real people with real problems. Plus it's great to see Helen Hunt. Her talent has not diminished, and she gives a wonderful performance as Liev's wife.

The family in Every Day is also dealing with a openly gay son and an aging father played with great relish by Brian Dennehy. But it is the sexy and talented Mr. Schrieber who holds it all together. Plus he also has a  sexy speedo swimming scene, which Vaughn would not dare.

Liev Schreiber does his share of commerical films. He will reprise his role as Cotton Weary (is there a better character name?) in Scream 4, but he also does quality work on the stage. He even has a Tony Award for Best Actor. In addition, he directed the art house hit Everything Is Illuminated that received a number of glowing reviews.

Everything is illuminated watching Vince Vaughn and Liev Schreiber in their new films on the same weekend. One is a once promising actor doing schlock work for money, and the other is an actor who cares deeply about the material and the craft of acting. Bravo Liev.