First Coast News
News
Home
Links
Search
Traffic Report
A New Iraq
War on Terror
Arcade Games
Careers
Columbia Tragedy
Community
Contact Us
Contests
Day Care Report
Education
Entertainment
E-Tech
Events Calendar
Florida News
Georgia News
Health Watch
Inside
Local News
Money Watch
On Your Side
Photo Galleries
Politics
Recipes
School Lunches
Sideline 2003
Sports
StormTrack 2003
Talk Back!
US & World News
Weather
Webcams
What's on TV
USA Today
Gannett

 

Review:'Cruelty' Has Great Chemistry

George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones
   
E-mail This Article
Printable Version
Discuss your opinion on this

 56K | High Speed
 

The cruelest cut of all in "Intolerable Cruelty" comes neither from George Clooney nor Catherine Zeta-Jones, whose chemistry and combined star wattage is so scorching, you'll feel as if your eyebrows have been singed.

The truly heartwrenching pain comes from the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, who've written and directed an uneven romantic comedy after making their name with films both darkly comic ("Raising Arizona") and comically graphic ("Fargo").

Surprisingly, they succeed for the first two-thirds - until the running gag of marrying and divorcing, of signing prenuptial agreements then promptly ripping them up, grows tediously repetitive.

They had something great going, too, and the script (which they wrote with Robert Ramsey and Matthew Stone) has the kind of witty banter that recalls the best romantic comedies of the 1940s.

Clooney's matinee-idol looks make him a natural for the role, and he's irresistibly charming as Miles Massey, the most successful divorce lawyer in Los Angeles.

Zeta-Jones, as his scheming client, Marylin Rexroth, is glamorous beyond all physical possibility - a perfect match for Clooney in every regard.

Marylin's ex-husband, the wealthy (of course) real estate developer Rex Rexroth (Edward Herrmann), initially walked into Miles' office after a private investigator (Cedric the Entertainer) catches him bouncing around a motel room with a lingerie-clad blonde. (Though why anyone would cheat on the stunning Marylin is a total mystery.)

Despite the abundance of physical evidence, Miles wins the case for Rex with his ultra-slick courtroom skills, and Marylin ends up with nothing. To get revenge, Marylin marries gullible oil tycoon Howard Doyle (Billy Bob Thornton, who's hilariously doofy) and enlists Miles' services in drawing up the famous "Massey prenup," knowing fully that Howard won't hold her to it. All Howard can do is sit by cluelessly as sparks fly between the lawyer and his future wife.

This touches off a seemingly endless cycle of marriage and manipulation that quickly wears out its welcome. Clooney mugs for the camera so much as the film lurches toward his slapstick conclusion, it's as if he's back in the Coens' "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" as a scheming, delusional ex-con.

(Speaking of "O Brother," the great cinematographer Roger Deakins, who shot that film and worked wonders with light and shadow in the Coens' black-and-white "The Man Who Wasn't There," also shot "Intolerable Cruelty," giving the film a colorful, glossy sheen.)

The fabulous Marylin, meanwhile, is so thinly drawn, it's hard to care about her or whether she ends up with Miles, as the romantic comedy formula dictates. She's a gold-digger, she dresses beautifully, and that's about it.

Still, she and Clooney make the film tolerable, at least for a while.

"Intolerable Cruelty," a Universal Pictures release, is rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and brief violence. Running time: 100 minutes. Two stars out of four.


Created: 10/10/2003 12:15:08 PM
Updated: 10/10/2003 12:26:40 PM
© 2003 Associated Press All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten, or redistributed.

 Go back to previous page


Top of page
| Home | Search | Contact Us | Terms of Service | About First Coast News | Advertise on this website
Deanna Fene Ken Amaro Jeannie Blaylock Tim Deegan Alan Gionet Dan Hicken Donna Hicken Phil Amato Mark Spain First Coast News ABC25 NBC12 NBC 12 - WTLV ABC 25 - WJXX Mark Collins Chris Whelan Tim Deegan Steve Smith Dan Hicken Jeff Prosser Patricia Crosby Steve Smith Angela Spears Phil Amato Angela Spears Steve Smith Dan Hicken Phil Amato Ken Amaro Jeannie Blaylock Tim Deegan Alan Gionet Donna Hicken Ken Amaro Jeannie Blaylock Tim Deegan Alan Gionet Dan Hicken Mark Collins Deanna Fene Mark Spain Donna Hicken Tim Deegan Alan Gionet Dan Hicken Chris Whelan Darryl Tardy Charlene Shirk Chris Whelan Jeff Prosser Charlene Shirk Chris Whelan Jeff Prosser Charlene Shirk Chris Whelan Dan Hicken Jeff Prosser Charlene Shirk Target Iraq Operation Homefront Dan Hicken Jeff Prosser
Local News