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MOVIE REVIEW FOR "INTOLERABLE CRUELTY" STARRING GEORGE CLOONEY, CATHERINE ZETA JONES, AND EDWARD HERMANN
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Note: This film has a PG-13 rating.

Junkie Rating:

This film received 2 1/2 pops out of 4 pops.This film received 2 1/2 pops out of 4 pops.This film received 2 1/2 pops out of 4 pops.This film received 2 1/2 pops out of 4 pops.

 

Cast and Credits

Joel Coen (Director)
Ethan Coen (Director)
George Clooney
(Miles Massey)
Catherine Zeta-Jones
(Marilyn Rexroth)
Edward Hermann
(Rex Rexroth)
Billy Bob Thornton
(Howard)
Cedric the Entertainer
(Gus Petch)
Geoffrey Rush
(Donovan Donaly)
Richard Jenkins
(Freddy Bender)

 
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      Ahhh, the Coen Brothers -- what unstoppable filmmaking machines they are.  Each new picture they create is another gem in the already stellar crown which is their career.  "Blood Simple" -- a masterpiece.  "Barton Fink" -- a masterpiece.  "Raising Arizona" -- need I say more?  "Fargo" -- should have won Best Picture.  "O Brother Where Art Thou" -- wholly unique.  And, now, comes their first attempt at romantic comedy, the often hilarious, yet ultimately lacking "Intolerable Cruelty".
 
      George Clooney stars as Miles Massey, a renowned divorce lawyer and celebrated author of the Massey Pre-Nup.  Massey is hired by millionaire Rex Rexroth (Edward Hermann) to keep his former wife Marilyn (Catherine Zeta-Jones) from taking his precious fortune in their divorce.  Massey, of course, wins.  Marilyn, however, enlists Miles to draft the prenuptual agreement for her next marriage, to millionaire oil tycoon Howard (Billy Bob Thornton).  Amidst all of this, Massey is so fascinated by Marilyn's beauty. grace, and intelligence, that he falls head over heels for her.  Cedric the Entertainer co-stars as a detective, Richard Jenkins as another attorney, and Geoffrey Rush as one of Massey's clients.
 
     So, where is John Goodman?  Where is Steve Buscemi?  Where is Frances MacDormand?  They are not in this picture.  Instead, the Coens extend their film family tree to newcomers like Jones, Cedric the Entertainer, and Hermann.  Is this a good thing?  For the most part, yes.  Edward Hermann delivers the best performance in the film as Rexroth -- he is a much underrated actor with some of the best comedic timing in the business.  As everyone knows, I loathe the acting abilities of Cedric the Entertainer, but even he managed to not get on my nerves as badly as usual.  And, Clooney and Jones have incredible chemistry together on screen -- watch out, Michael Douglas -- Clooney is younger and better looking.
 
      Didn't I mention something about lacking?  Ah, yes.  The comedy is there -- I found myself doubled over during some parts.  And, the romance is there -- not your typical mushy romance, but romance nonetheless.  What I found to be lacking was the style the Coen Brothers usually possess and add to the film.  It is as if this film was too organized, too perfectly timed, and too 'by the book' in terms of production.  I missed the mood lighting, the visionary cinematography, and the trademark Coen pacing.  Maybe they were trying to make it more accessible to the mainstream audiences, but I felt doing so took away greatly from the film.  I like going to see a Coen Brothers film because it is a Coen Brothers film -- not so they can, essentially, dumb it down for the masses. 
 
      Overall, "Intolerable Cruelty" is more accessible to the mainstream, but some might still be unsatisfied.  I was not unsatisfied -- I guess I just expected more.  This is one of the smarter romantic comedies to come along in years, and leave it to the Coens to do it.  And, as I mentioned before, Edward Hermann, as always, is marvelous in a supporting role that could have been wasted by another actor.  Just don't expect a traditional Coen Brothers picture with this one or you will be disappointed.


     --
Billy Ray ( 2 1/2 out of 4 pops )

 

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