.

Intolerable Cruelty

George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Billy Bob Thornton, Julia Duffy, Geoffrey Rush

Directed by Joel Coen
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3
Community: star rating
5 3 0
October 9, 2003

Near the end of this smart, speedy romantic farce, the comic engine hits a wall and sputters. Until then, this Coen brothers film — easily their silliest — is fueled by a screwball fizz that keeps the laughs popping. It helps that the stars are impossibly charming George Clooney and impossibly stunning Catherine Zeta-Jones. He plays Miles Massey, a killer L.A. divorce lawyer. She plays Marylin Rexroth, a gold digger ready to take her husband (Edward Herrmann) to the cleaners — until he hires Miles and she gets screwed. Miles wants Marylin; Marylin wants revenge.

This script has been kicking around for eight years and feels it (L.A. greed is a dusty topic). But the Coens — Joel writes and directs, Ethan writes and produces — haven't lost their knack for laughs with a sting. "My job is to nail asses, I'm an ass nailer," says a sleazy detective (a terrific Cedric the Entertainer). "Hmm," says Marylin, "an aphorist."

In the Coen manner, the film brims with crafty character turns, including Billy Bob Thornton as a rich Texan and Geoffrey Rush as a ponytailed TV producer. But Clooney is definitely the man of these two hours. His portrait of a shark in love is a model of classy comic acting. Clooney isn't afraid to look goofy, and neither are the Coens. Even a dead ending can't spoil the pleasure of their company.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Long Walk Home”

    Bruce Springsteen | 2007

    When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com