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Intolerably cruel and mediocre

Emily Iarocci | Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Despite an all-star cast, the movie Intolerable Cruelty was certainly nothing to rave about. While the acting was done well, as would be expected from such wonderful actors as George Clooney, Catherine-Zeta Jones, Geoffrey Rush, and Billy Bob Thornton, the story was rather slow and not very interesting. Intolerable Cruelty was directed by the Coen brothers, who have also worked as producer (Ethan), writer (Joel) and director (both brothers) in such films as The Big Lebowski, Fargo and O Brother, Where Art Thou?The main screenplay writers were Robert Ramsey and Matthew Stone. Information concerning other works by these writers could not be found. If the two are somewhat inexperienced screenplay writers, then their efforts in this screenplay should actually be commended. However, if they are experienced screenwriters, they should receive some criticism for a slow-moving plot that is only partially capable of grabbing the viewers interest. While a handful of specific scenes within the movie were very good, it just wasn’t put together well and did not flow.Clooney plays Miles Massey, a very successful and infamous divorce attorney. While he is as accomplished as a divorce attorney can be, he feels that his life is lacking something. Nothing seems to satisfy him or initiate any sort of positive emotion. He is bored with life. One day he meets Marylin Rexroth (Zeta-Jones), the wife of his adulterous millionaire client, Rex Rexroth. Massey immediately seems to fall in love with her but continues to honor his client and does all that is in his power to prevent Marylin from receiving any benefit from the divorce. Marilyn seems to be after only one thing in life – money. The remainder of the movie follows her attempts to acquire money from weak men and to humiliate Massey as revenge for causing her to lose her divorce case. Along the way however, she discovers that she, like Massey, is also bored in life. She finds that maybe there is something between her and Massey that she should explore. Marylin Rexroth is the most interesting character in the movie, and the portrayal of this gold-digger was successfully performed by Zeta-Jones. Her best scenes were those in which she was talking with her gold-digger friends. Those where Zeta-Jones was being seductive with Clooney to get what she wanted, because she was aware that he had an intense interest in her. Clooney was also very convincing in his role, as an emotionally stunted, utterly bored man. Billy Bob Thornton’s supporting role was very well performed, though I am not going to give away what his character was, it would ruin one of the better parts of the movie. It is unfortunate that such a great cast was still unable to make up for the lack of quality within the plot. The DVD has good quality. The picture and sound are very clear. The extras available on the DVD however, are lacking. The standard extras are available such as, about the movie and outtakes. The DVD doesn’t have any deleted scenes, or alternate endings, which would have been nice. Also, the about the movie parts are not well dones, and the outtakes are pretty bland. The funniest part about the outtakes is the shots of George Clooney when he messes up, both intentionally and accidentally because he has very amusing facial expressions. Therefore, the DVD did not do anything to increase the value of the movie itself. All in all, Intolerable Cruelty, was mediocre, both in the plotline, and as a DVD, but the acting was impressive.