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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.