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Intolerable Cruelty
DVD disk
10.05.2004 By: Indiana Sev
Intolerable Cruelty order
Director:
Joel Coen

Actors:
George Clooney
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Geoffrey Rush

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A suave and unscrupulous divorce attorney (is there any other kind?) bored with his job and lifestyle gets a real hard shot of adrenalin when he meets a gold-digging beauty and falls in love. They both must then figure out if trust and love can ever conquer the two things that have always been an essential part of both their lives: revenge and money!
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This is Coen Bros-lite. After Woody Allen, the brothers are easily my favorite living directors and although INTOLERABLE CRUELTY doesn’t even come close to measuring up to any one of their previous films, it is still a quite funny, charming and well-written comedy that beats most of the uninspired comedies being produced in Hollywood nowadays – by a long shot. Unlike almost all the rest of their films, there aren’t any deep or hidden meanings in this one though, unless you thought Clooney being a criminally talented comedic actor was a secret (if you did, stop reading this drivel and go out and rent ‘O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU or WELCOME TO COLLINWOOD immediately!!) Yes, George once again does a bang-up job delivering the sharp and witty dialogue of a Coen Bros. script. Zeta-Jones’ cool sexiness also makes for a very nice side dish. The two stars mesh perfectly together which makes their little cat and mouse game that much more of a pleasure to watch.

In the end though, I would have to say that this is good comedy rather than a great one. It’s certainly clever and romantic enough to please most viewers, but it just didn’t quite leave a lasting impression on me. It may just be the simple fact that the premise wasn’t original or compelling enough. Still, a fun supporting cast (Billy Bob Thornton, Richard Jenkins), great soundtrack (Simon & Garfunkel), cute opening credit sequence + song (an ingenious mix of Elvis Presley and animated lovesick lovers/ Cupid) and memorable score make this romantic comedy another fine addition to the Coen Bros. repertoire. This is definitely not their greatest film, but then again, the Coens worst is better than most people’s best.
THE EXTRAS
A Look Inside Intolerable Cruelty (approx. 12 min.): There is no commentary track on this DVD, but this behind-the-scenes look is a pretty good substitute. The Coens, producer Brian Grazer, and all the principal actors (Cedric The Entertainer, Catherine Zeta-Jones, George Clooney, Billy Bob Thornton, Julia Duffy, the brilliant Richard Jenkins, etc.) all share their thoughts on working on the film. From how Joel and Ethan got involved in a “mainstream” movie to tons of (and most deserving) praise for Joel and Ethan’s work and methods, this little feature is a very welcome and entertaining addition to these extras.

The Wardrobe (approx. 5 min.): Admittedly, both George and Catherine look pretty damn sharp in this movie, but features about the film’s costume design always bore me to tears. Proceed with caution…

Filmmaker Approved and Assembled Outtakes: Only four in total, with a couple of them being entirely devoted to George and Catherine’s f*ck-ups entirely. Those are pretty funny - Clooney seems like he’s a blast to work with. The other two are just strange more than anything else.

Cast and Filmmakers Bios and Filmographies: These are actually very extensive, for once.

DVD-ROM Features
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
As I mentioned before, Clooney in a comedy is a no-brainer. This is a 100% rent-worthy film and for any Coen aficionados out there, a done deal as far as it being part of your DVD collection. It may not be their best effort ever, but it’s still undeniably one hour and forty minutes of pure Coen Bros entertainment. Honestly, it’s worth it for Clooney’s tennis practice session alone!
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