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Intolerable Cruelty (Widescreen Edition) (2003)

A movie directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

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"Okay so for our next movie...... a garbageman dating a woman who doesn't throw out her garbage..."

  • Feb 18, 2011
You know you can have the Coen's make a movie as mediocre as this and have one of the oldest jokes in existence that you can call a mile away and it still made me laugh as two idiots spray each other in the face with repellent while sneaking around in the dark.  That takes some talent and I think most of this movies talent quote went into that one scene.

Intolerable Cruelty must be the Coen's most mainstream movie due largely to it's casting which is a sign of the times.  Catherine Zeta Jones, back when she was in every other movie is the leading lady, Cedric the Entertainer gets a supporting role while George Clooney is the star.  The movie also got a lot of mainstream press and wouldn't you know it, this is arguabbly one of the Coens weakest movies.  It's not as boring as The Man who Wasn't There and a little more of the trademark style is present then it was in The Ladykillers, but that isn't much.

The movie has George Clooney as a fast talking divorce lawyer who won't let minor things get in the way of letting his client win everything they have coming to them, even if they're undeserving of the rewards.  Catherine Zeta Jones is a sexy woman who's career is gold digging.  She can't wait to find some indiscretion on her better half's part to divorce them and clean them out.  George Clooney gets involved with her during and after a case and trusts his own judgement that she means love is real between them.  Is it?  Maybe?

Theres plenty in this movie that the Coens have as they're own style.  Characters screaming and doing or saying surreal things, the same lines of dialogue getting repeated over and over and improbable situations or characters that exist when common sense say they shouldn't.  Those are they're charms and this movie is a little too charmed at times for it's own good since those good things all start to wear pretty thin over the movies run time.

The story however is at least a little interesting if resorting to Odd Couple mentality.  A crafty lawyer who specializes in divorce getting involved with a woman who lives to divorce rich men.  Can the lawyer come up with a way to hold onto his money?  Does the woman come to learn there is more to life then money?  By the end of this after seeing The Man Who Wasn't There, this and then The Ladykillers I wondered if the Coens were going to get out of a rut and make something entertaining again.  It took a couple of years.

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February 23, 2011
I need to re-watch this one
February 23, 2011
It's okay. Only okay.
February 19, 2011
I liked the Coen Bros. But I have to say this movie was one of my least favorites from them. Great review.
More Intolerable Cruelty reviews
review by . March 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
What if the Coen Brothers gave a movie and nobody came? Oh, sure, they had big-name stars--Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones. But no John Turturro, no John Goodman, no Steve Buscemi, no Frances McDormand! I didn't watch this movie when it first came out, because it was the type of romantic comedy that I usually choose to avoid, and when I got to this place in my race through the Coen Brothers catalog, I didn't realize what it was until my wife said, "Why did you get this movie from Netflix?" with …
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John Nelson ()
Ranked #5
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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About this movie


A sleek George Clooney and a seductive Catherine Zeta-Jones square off magnificently in the divorce comedyIntolerable Cruelty. The plot is simple: Lawyer supreme Miles Massey (Clooney,Out of Sight,Ocean's Eleven) skillfully outmaneuvers gold-digger Marylin Rexroth (Zeta-Jones,Chicago,Traffic) when she divorces her wealthy husband--and she sets out to get revenge. But this movie comes from the creative minds of the Coen Brothers (Fargo,Raising Arizona,O Brother Where Art Thou?), and soIntolerable Crueltyincludes a Scottish wedding chapel in Vegas, an asthmatic hit man, fluffy-dog-stroking European nobility, and a legendarily unbreakable pre-nuptial agreement. Still, it's pretty restrained for the Coens; smooth and consistent, it never stumbles as disappointingly as their movies can, but also never quite hits the operatic pitch of their best work. It's still damn funny, though, with top-notch performances from the leads as well as Geoffrey Rush, Cedric the Entertainer, and Billy Bob Thornton.--Bret Fetzer
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Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: October 10, 2003
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: February 10, 2004
Runtime: 100 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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