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Intolerable Cruelty 2003 PG-13 CC

The Oscar-winning Coen brothers direct Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones and George Clooney in this romantic comedy about men, women and everything that can go wrong between them.

Starring:
George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Runtime:
1 hour, 40 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Romance, Comedy
Director Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Starring George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Supporting actors Geoffrey Rush, Cedric the Entertainer, Edward Herrmann, Paul Adelstein, Richard Jenkins, Billy Bob Thornton, Julia Duffy, Jonathan Hadary, Tom Aldredge, Stacey Travis, Jack Kyle, Irwin Keyes, Judith Drake, George Ives, Booth Colman, Kristin Dattilo, Wendle Josepher, Mary Pat Gleason
Studio Universal Pictures
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

There is a point in Intolerable Cruelty where George Clooney is giving a key note speech professing his love that is long enough to make you suspect the Coen brothers have "sold out" into schmaltz. Wrong! The film, in typical Coen style, dives into as many twists and turns as is needed in a good thriller. Fortunately, the film is a comedic farce.
Clooney plays Miles Massey, the most prominent divorce lawyer in southern California. A man so good at what he does he has a prenuptial contract named after him. Massey's good and he knows it. Near the beginning of the film, he and his assistant, Wrigley (Paul Adelstein), are chatting about how boring Massey's life has become while a sweating client sits between them as the client's wife describes how she was used as a sex slave. Massey is that confident of himself.
And confidence is what Clooney is all about. He is simply incredible. Swaggering around like a peacock while checking to make sure his teeth are clean, Clooney gives his best performance. There is no denying his charm here. Even when he's being a prig.
Enter Marylin Rexroth (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a woman who's only goal is to marry a rich man, catch him in some indiscretion and divorce him for half of what he's worth. She wants to be independent she claims. Massey falls for her completely. She is his match in game-playing and confidence and he must have her.
Thus sets up the Coens' romantic comedy farce. It's bizarre at times, but humorous throughout as one coincidental incident sets-up another and turns all the characters on both of their ears. This is probably their fluffiest piece ever, but highly entertaining nonetheless.
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Format: VHS Tape
Intolerable Cruelty has to be the funniest film I've seen all year! Fans of the Coen Brothers will instantly love this fast paced, witty and surreal piece of cinematic genius, brilliantly directed, fantastically scripted and incredibly intelligent. While the idea of Clooney and Zeta-Jones fogging up the screen in a romantic comedy turned me off so much that I missed this in the cinema, now I've seen it I can't believe I had so little faith in Joel and Ethan. The Coen's didn't write the story, so this is sadly no Big Lebowski or Fargo, and some of the characters are a tad unsubtle (Cedric the Entertainer's private dick, the half-dead head lawyer and Clooney's sidekick come to mind) but they did have a hand in the screenplay, and therefore the dialogue sparkles with the typical Coen shine. I think the best scene for this is during Zeta-Jones' first divorce, as Clooney, his sidekick and this Client, in strained whispers, discuss their experience with the Judge ("Have you sat before this Judge before?","No, the Judge sits first..."). The cockpit scenes in Airport spring to mind...
The plot wriggles and squirms, involves and discards without ever falling into the trap of becoming too slow, sentimental or boring and various recurring jokes and camera shots from other Coen brothers movies will keep the viewer entertained even after the6th or 7th run through. The only thing that becomes stale is Zeta-Jones' lack of acting ability, but she's so drop-dead gorgeous that it doesn't really matter.
Definitely one to buy, treasure and make sure your friends see!
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I doubt that there are two more strikingly attractive actors in movies today than George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Zeta-Jones, in particular, has the kind of classic beauty that puts her right up there with the great screen legends of all time, women like Ingrid Bergman, Natalie Wood and Audrey Hepburn, who, with their ravishing good looks and photogenic quality, came to define the ideal of female pulchritude in their time.
Credit the Coen Brothers, who made "Intolerable Cruelty," with having the good sense to know what they had in these two stars and for exploiting it to the full. They have allowed the actors to play off their good looks, most especially Ms. Zeta-Jones, portraying an icy gold-digger who specializes in marrying rich men with the express purpose of taking them for everything they've got once the marriage is ended. Clooney is the first-rate divorce lawyer who finally meets his match when he falls under the spell of this strangely bewitching woman.
The major joy in "Intolerable Cruelty" comes from watching these two tremendously attractive stars go at one another - be it in lust, passion or anger. Miles and Marylin are both seasoned game-players and world-class manipulators who know how to get the better of the hapless victims who stumble headlong into their paths. Unfortunately, the film itself never lives up to its promise of becoming a slashing satire on the mores of our divorce-happy society. The main reason for this is that the script often shoots too low in its tone, opting for an overly broad, slapstick approach when a slyer, subtler style is what's really called for.
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I saw a test screening of "Intolerable Cruelty" last Spring and am impatiently awaiting the opportunity to see it again. For many years I've been a devotee of the Coen brothers' work and this is a welcome addition to their filmography. "Intolerable Cruelty" has elements which remind me of many of their previous films. This despite the fact that "Intolerable Cruelty" is the first production for which they did not write the screenplay. I don't blame them for this, its a fantastic script. The dialogue immediately struck me as having the extra wit, style, and layeres of subtlety common to Big Lebowski, and O Brother Where Art Thou?
The Los Angeles setting and eclectic characters is reminiscent of Lebowski. However, Clooney's character, a prominent divorce attorney spews gab like Ulysses Everitt McGill, only with better credentials. Intolerable Cruelty, despite its title, is also much lighter than anything else by the Coens- except perhaps Hudsucker Proxy. Lighthearted even with much of the storyline devoted to social climbing wives and fidelity-impaired husbands.
The entire cast gives wonderful performances. Catherine Zeta-Jones has regained her title as sexiest woman in my world after her femme-fatale performance here. Clooney is perfect for his fast-talking part. Billy Bob, Geoffrey Rush, and Cedric the Entertainer all have memorable minor parts. Paul Adelstein is great as Clooney's understudy sidekick.
Intolerable Cruelty is not perhaps a troubling, deep cinematic masterpiece on the order of Miller's Crossing or Fargo. But it is a fantastic comedy with many instantly quotable lines ("You fascinate me") and subtely worth repeated viewings. With its big name cast this film is likely to once again return the Coen brothers to mainstream prominence. A most welcome prospect for such a strong film.
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