first George Clooney film I saw was Out of Sight, in which he
co-starred with Jennifer Lopez. He
impressed me as an ineffectual Cary Grant wannabe.
Subsequent sightings in things like The Perfect Storm and Confessions
of a Dangerous Mind added fuel to my early impression.
In fact, when I saw him on an interview with Katie Couric on The
Today Show on October 10, 2003, and he said, ďYou wouldnít
believe the number of bad films that are out there,Ē I thought that
apparently he hasnít seen any George Clooney films, because, if he
had, he would have no trouble believing the number of bad films out
what Iím about to tell you should be something you can take to the
bank because Iím not inclined to Clooney performances.
Intolerable Cruelty, burdened by an uneven script, is
saved by exceptional acting by Clooney (Miles Massey) and the rest of
the cast, which includes Catherine Zeta Jones (Marilyn Rexroth),
Geoffrey Rush (Donovan Donely), Cedric the Entertainer (Gus Pesch), and
Edward Herrmann (Rex Rexroth).
Miles is a slimy
divorce lawyer, author of something called the Massey Prenup, which, if
signed, relinquishes every claim in the event of a divorce. Marilyn is a wife seeking a divorce when she meets Miles and
Miles is entranced, even though heís representing her husband, Rex.
Miles canít get Marilyn out of his mind (and who could blame
him; if thereís ever been a more beautiful woman than Zeta Jones, I
havenít seen her). After
beating her in court, Marilyn reappears into his life with a new beau,
Howard D. Doyle (Billy Bob Thornton), identified as an enormously
wealthy Texas oilman. Howard and Marilyn sign a Massey Prenup, pursuant
to which Marilyn waives any rights to Howardís fortune in the event of
a divorce. After that,
things get more complicated as Miles canít get over his infatuation
is very good despite a spotty script with some of the most absurd
courtroom scenes ever filmed. Thereís an art to satire, but this film misses it entirely
in its courtroom scenes. After
such a brilliant film like Fargo, itís difficult to believe
that the Coen Brothers could write tripe like the courtroom stuff they
foist upon their audience here. I
realize that as an attorney maybe Iím looking at it more censoriously
than most. However, thereís nobody more critical of our system of
civil justice than I, and people who want to take potshots at it will
have me in their corner. But,
please, make them semi-intelligent.
These scenes are ludicrous and lose their effect by being so
preposterous, to the overall detriment of an otherwise fairly
thereís the way it presents women, as beautiful, money-grubbing
creatures not to be trusted. Marilyn and her friends sit around figuring
out how they can capture another wealthy man and get his money.
This movie would be terminally misogynistic if it didnít show
men in an equally bad light. I didnít see one person in the movie who
could be called admirable. This
movie doesnít just hate women, it hates everybody.
weíre supposed to think of as ďloveĒ between Miles and Marilyn is
based on nothing more than animal attraction because they never have any
kind of conversation through which they could learn anything about each
other. Itís not just that
thereís no intelligent discourse between them, thereís nothing
intelligent or clever anywhere to be found in this movie.
the inconsistent script and low tone, this has many funny moments. If
you can forget the negative view it takes of mankind, itís
entertaining because of the performances of Clooney, Zeta Jones, and the
rest of the cast.