8 out of 10
Quirky View Of American Life
Known for their unique, off-the-wall movies about American life, such as The Big Lebowski, Oh Brother Where Art Thou and Raising Arizona, Intolerable Cruelty has the Coen's once again at their irreverent best. A little less dark-humoured, more fresh and glamorous, but no less twisted than its predecessors, it is a hilarious and clever view of the high-powered and highly expensive world of marriage and divorce in Los Angeles.
In a picture that reaches the heights of skulduggery found in "The War of the Roses" or "The Awful Truth," George Clooney rejoins the directors, this time as Miles Massey, prospering divorce attorney and inventor of the "Massey Prenuptual Agreement," who, single, wealthy and having reached the pinnacle of success in his career, has found himself in a rut. Already owning everything money can buy, he finds a new challenge in Marylin Rexwroth (Catherine Zeta Jones), the alluring and crafty soon-to-be-ex-wife of one of his clients a philandering train-obsessed real estate mogul Rex Rexwroth (Edward Herrmann).
Including all the typical Coen brother's surrealistic quirks, classic one liners and odd characters including an aged partner in the firm who sets Massey's biological clock ticking, an asthmatic hitman named Wheezy Joe and flamboyant tell-all concierge Baron Krauss von Espy, it is not to be missed. With Cedric the Entertainer as a barnstorming private eye who is anything but private and Geoffrey Rush as a gun-happy Aussie tv producer, "Intolerable Cruelty" is more fast-paced and accessible than previous Coen films, possibly also due to contributions from mainstream screenwriters and producers Robert Ramsey, Matthew Stone and John Romano. Although Zeta Jones never truly sinks to a level of cruelty required to truly bring character to her role, Clooney's performance, backed by Paul Adelstein as his naïve and laughably keen assistant Wrigley bring the picture to life. After combing the depths of the battle of the sexes, it surprisingly becomes a celebration of love and makes several insightful statements about relationships in society. Including a Scottish wedding in Vegas, it is fun picture for anyone who is a fan of twisted humor, obscure American cultural references or berries.
Film Critic: Jennifer M Lillies