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Intolerable Cruelty

Intolerable Cruelty

3.0 10
Director: Joel Coen

Cast: George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Geoffrey Rush


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Joel and Ethan Coen take on the classic battle-of-the-sexes screwball comedy with Intolerable Cruelty. George Clooney plays Miles Massey, a high-powered Los Angeles divorce lawyer nearing a midlife crisis. While representing wealthy client Rex Rexroth (Edward Herrmann), Miles meets his match in Rex's gold-digging wife, Marilyn Rexroth (Catherine Zeta-Jones). He


Joel and Ethan Coen take on the classic battle-of-the-sexes screwball comedy with Intolerable Cruelty. George Clooney plays Miles Massey, a high-powered Los Angeles divorce lawyer nearing a midlife crisis. While representing wealthy client Rex Rexroth (Edward Herrmann), Miles meets his match in Rex's gold-digging wife, Marilyn Rexroth (Catherine Zeta-Jones). He's impressed by her similarly heartless ways of using marriage to fuel an expensive lifestyle, but he still defeats her in court. With Marilyn looking to get her revenge and Miles finding himself attracted to her, the two engage in a ruthless romantic pursuit to out-swindle each other. Billy Bob Thornton shows up in a small role as Texas oil tycoon Howard Doyle.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Irrepressible brothers Joel and Ethan Coen are at it again, serving up plenty of laughs in an over-the-top farce that echoes Hollywood's sophisticated screwball comedies of the '30s and '40s. Super-slick divorce lawyer Miles Massey (George Clooney) has a well-deserved reputation for painlessly extricating wayward spouses from their marriages after they're caught cheating. But he's stumped by his latest client's glamorous and predatory wife, Marilyn Rexroth (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who seems to have entered the union secure in the knowledge that her hubby would slip up sooner or later. Miles doesn't want this dishy divorcée to get the better of him, but he doesn't count on succumbing to her considerable charms. Billy Bob Thornton has a small but flashy role as an all-too-trusting Texas millionaire who also becomes one of Marilyn's conquests, with Edward Herrmann and Julia Duffy contributing colorful supporting turns. The Coen brothers have frankly admitted that they set out to emulate classic screwball comedies, and the film's costume designer has said that Massey's suits were patterned after those worn by Cary Grant. But the uniquely twisted Coens are never content simply to walk along well-trod paths, and this film bears the unique Coen stamp in its performances and dialogue. More accessible and mainstream than some of the brothers' other movies, Intolerable Cruelty is guaranteed to provoke sidesplitting howls of laughter, especially from those conversant with such classics as The Awful Truth and His Girl Friday.
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Intolerable Cruelty feels exactly like what it is, a Coen brothers film that did not originate from the mind of Joel and Ethan. There are turns of phrase that are unmistakably the work of the duo, but the pacing of this story is not as crisp as their other work. There are a handful of quick-paced, snappy, dialogue-laden scenes and, in those sequences, the film takes full flight. George Clooney is inspired as the suave, vain divorce lawyer shark. He is thoroughly unlikable and yet the audience loves him. Clooney is one of the rare stars who is truly unafraid of looking buffoonish. He throws himself into this part; that the film works as well as it does has much to do with his performance. Catherine Zeta-Jones also delivers a strong performance, although her character being more inscrutable than Clooney's makes it difficult for her to connect with the audience in quite the same way. The rest of the cast is pretty much pitch-perfect, with Billy Bob Thornton getting huge laughs in a pair of scene-stealing sequences. Even though the pacing and the quality of the film varies from scene to scene, Intolerable Cruelty deserves credit for being a genuine update of the classic screwball comedy form. The screenplay is good enough, but the actors mine every ounce of quality from it.
New York Times - Elvis Mitchell
Something not seen in movie theaters for a long time: an intelligent, modern screwball comedy, a minor classic on the order of competent, fast-talking curve balls about deception and greed like Mitchell Leisen's Easy Living and Billy Wilder's Major and the Minor.
Time Magazine - Richard Corliss
Even when the movie sags and strains a bit in Act III, Clooney keeps it flying with old-fashioned movie-star allure. He's got it all: Cary Grant's looks and, inside, Bob Hope's snake-oil-salesman soul.
New York Post - Megan Lehman
Hilariously overblown, Cruelty fairly pops at the seams with the beloved eccentricity of Joel and Ethan Coen, from the fiendishly ludicrous scenarios and casually tossed off visual gags to the razor-sharp repartee.
Chicago Tribune - Michael Wilmington
Elegant, cheerfully cynical fun of the kind we used to get regularly from Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks and other masters of the classic Hollywood screwball comedy -- all those '30s-'40s movies about rich people sloshed, or acting crazy and running romantically amok.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
George Clooney Miles Massey
Catherine Zeta-Jones Marylin Rexroth
Geoffrey Rush Donovan Donnelly
Cedric the Entertainer Gus Petch
Edward Herrmann Rex Rexroth
Richard Jenkins Freddy Bender
Billy Bob Thornton Howard Doyle
Paul Adelstein Wrigley
Julia Duffy Sara Sorkin
Stacey Travis Bonnie Donovan
Jack Kyle Ollie Olerud
Jonathan Hadary Heinz, the Baron Krauss von Espy
Irwin Keyes Wheezy Joe
John Bliss Mr. MacKinnon
Mia Cottet Ramona Barcelona
Kristin Datillo Actor
Tom Aldredge Herb Myerson
Camille Anderson Santa Fe Tart
Royce D. Applegate Mr. Gutman
Kitana Baker Santa Fe Tart
Andre Rosey Brown Gus's Pal
Blake Clark Convention Secretary
Booth Colman Gutman Trial Judge
Kristin Dattilo-Hayward Rex's Young Woman
Judith Drake Mrs. Gutman
Sean Fenton Bailiff
Doug Fisher Maitre D'
Mary Gillis Court Reporter
Mary Pat Gleason Nero's Waitress
Emma Harrison Santa Fe Tart
George Ives Mrs. Gutman's Lawyer
Wendle Josepher Miles' Receptionist
Colin Linden Father Scott
Kate Luyben Santa Fe Tart
Bridget Marquardt Santa Fe Tart
Gary Marshal Las Vegas Waiter
Patrick Thomas O'Brien Bailiff
Isabell Monk Judge Marva Munson
Julie Osburn Stewardess
Ken Sagoes Gus's Pal
Nicholas Shaffer Waiter
Tamie Sheffield Santa Fe Tart
Allan Trautman Convention Lawyer
Dale E. Turner Gus's Pal
Kiersten Warren Claire O'Mara
Carter Burwell Conductor

Technical Credits
Joel Coen Director,Screenwriter
Jean A. Black Makeup
Patti Brand Makeup
Carter Burwell Score Composer
John Cameron Co-producer
Ellen Chenoweth Casting
Ethan Coen Producer,Screenwriter
Sean Daniel Executive Producer
Roger Deakins Cinematographer
David Diliberto Musical Direction/Supervision
Clint Dougherty Camera Operator
Jenny Eagan Costumes/Costume Designer
Diana Edgmon Costumes/Costume Designer
Jann K. Engel Set Decoration/Design
Tony Fanning Art Director
Annie Garrity Costumes/Costume Designer
Karen Ruth Getchell Production Manager
Ariel Gold Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert Graf Associate Producer
Brian Grazer Producer
Nancy Haigh Set Decoration/Design
Grant Heslov Co-producer
Alix Hester Costumes/Costume Designer
Lisa Hoyle Stunts
James Jacks Executive Producer
Roderick Jaynes Editor
Betsy Magruder Asst. Director
Leslie McDonald Production Designer
Peggy Nichols Makeup
Betsy Patterson Special Effects Supervisor
Robert Ramsey Original Story,Screenwriter
Rhythm & Hues Studios Special Effects
John Romano Original Story
Lori Rowbotham Set Decoration/Design
Andrew Slyder Costumes/Costume Designer
Matthew Stone Original Story,Screenwriter
Christine Wada Costumes/Costume Designer
Eddie Watkins Stunts
James Whitaker Co-producer
Cindy Williams Makeup
Danny Wynands Stunts
Mary Zophres Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Intolerable Cruelty
1. Pool Boy/Main Titles [8:47]
2. Massaging the Truth [3:15]
3. David and Goliath [2:55]
4. A Job Well Done [4:23]
5. The War Room [2:52]
6. Negotiation [4:41]
7. The Real Goal [6:04]
8. Tenzing Norgay [8:42]
9. Just the Girls [2:05]
10. Inner Sanctum [2:10]
11. The New Guy [8:05]
12. Eating His Words [5:35]
13. The Moral Universe [6:29]
14. Wee Kirk [4:36]
15. Keynote Address [6:00]
16. Soap [2:44]
17. Second Thoughts [3:43]
18. Last Train Ride [2:15]
19. Canceling the Contract [5:00]
20. A Hit/End Titles [9:05]


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Intolerable Cruelty 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved it. The screwball genre was well represented, the supporting cast ably added those certain defining details and it was a joy to see two sexy ADULTS sparking off each other . Since I am an admirer of both the lead actors and the inimitable Coen brothers I am certainly biased ; nevertheless, I highly recommend it
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this movie was horrible. These are terrific actors but did anyone really think that George Clooney could pull off a love sick attorney? The story line looks like if given the proper actors it could have been hysterical... but it was most disapointing!
andrast More than 1 year ago
Not a typical coen brothers film, but still witty and clever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first time I attempted to watch the movie, it made me cringe. I gave it a second try thinking maybe I was just wasn't in the mood to watch the movie. I was wrong. This movie was beyond horrible. Catherine Zeta Jones and George Clooney are both talented actors and I have enjoyed several of their films, however in this film, something was definitely missing. The pair did not compliment each other AT ALL, the writing was shody, and the one-liners were a complete miss. The film was all glamour and no substance. Intolerable Cruely. How ironic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie lived up to its title, "Intolerable Cruelty" was what it was for me to watch this movie. If only I could get my money back but I brought the DVD and now am stuck with this lackluster attempt at a romantic comedy. The premise of the movie would play out better if it was not for the two actors, Clooney and Zeta-Jones, who as the main characters, had no chemistry or ability to bounce off each other, otherwise good punchlines. I do like Clooney and Zeta-Jones acting abilities but not in this "intolerable" movie. If not for the supporting cast of Hermann and Duffy, I would have really jumped ship.
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