Somewhere between the ho-hum script, the (just) okay directing, the tolerable acting and the editing Intolerable Cruelty lost its allure and put me to sleep. Despite the now legendary writing and directing talents of the Coen Brothers, the dashing good looks of George Clooney, comics styling of Cedric the Entertainer, and the undeniable sex appeal and beauty of Catherine Zeta-Jones, this movieIntolerable Crueltycould not be saved from itself. I found Intolerable Cruelty to be an insufferable bore; so much so, that literally it put me to sleep a half way through.
Intolerable Cruelty is the latest film from the now legendary Coen brothers (Fargo, Ladykillers, and O Brother, Where Art Thou). The movie re-teams the brothers with the star of their surprising hit movie O Brother Where Art Thou, George Clooney. Intolerable Cruelty follows the shenanigans of hotshot Beverly Hills divorce lawyer Miles Massey (George Clooney), the nation's leading divorce attorney, who is bored with his continued success and wants a real challenge. So on top of his game is he, that he even created the ultimate prenuptial agreement, "the Massey Prenup," and it's so ironclad there's a course devoted to it at Harvard Law School. His challenge appears in the form of the stunning Marilyn Rexroth (Catherine Zeta-Jones), the jaded wife of one of Masseys clients (Edward Herrmann), a wealthy real estate developer whose nocturnal indiscretions are caught on tape. Of course the question comes immediately to mind: why would any man fool around on the likes of Marilyn? But
Marilyn and her attorney (Cedric the Entertainer), certain of a lucrative judgment in their favor, are stunned when Massey (who is known in legal circles for his ability to convince juries to give his clients, all too often the guilty parties in breakups the lion's share of the settlement, despite their obvious and documented marital misdeeds), works his courtroom magic and prevails, leaving her quite broke. Determined to rebound, Marilyn snags an oil tycoon (Billy Bob Thornton), which in turn is all part of her plan to revenge herself on Massey. Meanwhile Massey, whose is a cynic when it comes to relationships and marriage, finds himself fatalistically attracted to Marilyn, playing of course into her hands. Trouble is, Cupid's love soaked arrow flies both waysand Marilyn finds herself falling for Massey. Familiar theme, no big surprises here folks.
Although strong lead characters are the heart of Intolerable Cruelty, Clooney, Zeta-Jones, Thornton, and even Cedric The Entertainer are not up to the task, the movie falls far short of the entertainment mark. Or is it rather the script lets them down? Clooneys comic timing is off, way off, and his lines are delivered with an unconvincing air that makes his character unbelievable. Zeta-Jones is of course stunningly beautiful having gotten back down to fighting weight after recently giving birth. Her performance is okay, but certainly nothing to phone home about by any measure.
In my mind this is the first looser film for the Coen brothers; their remarkable zany take on life was asleep during the filming of Intolerable Cruelty. Or perhaps it was awake but unwilling to give us the full measure of its attention. Whatever the reason Intolerable Cruelty misses the mark by a wide margin. Any movie that bores me enough to put me to sleep cannot score a recommendation no matter the talent adorning the silver screen.
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older
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