Intolerable Cruelty

Submitted by on 20 November, 2003 - 12:00

The Coen Brothers do romantic comedy? The same Coen brothers who did Fargo, Brother Where Art Thou and other strange, unpredictable, wry takes on life in contemporary America? Not likely, surely?

Don't worry, this is a terrific film - a modern Hollywood screwball comedy. The original screwball comedies were made during Great Depression of the 1930s and were both a comment on the world where there is rich and poor and also medication for the poor - wealth and true love could be obtained by anyone. Sexual role-playing and class reversals were the hallmark ingredients.

There is certainly lots of sexual sparring here, but is it a comment on the world of the obscenely rich and obscenely poor? Yes, the world of the obscenely rich is satirised - but with a very light touch.

George Clooney plays Miles Massey, an obscenely rich LA divorce lawyer. Bored with his life and possessions, he falls in love with professional gold digger Marilyn Rexroth. But can the servant of LA reptiles and the superficial femme fatale with the heart of lead ever learn to appreciate the virtues of truth and trust?

Perhaps the film is a satire on LA/Hollywood values - the modern Hollywood where minor talents get catapulted into mega-stardom - by way of irony. Catherine Zeta-Jones after all made her fortune by marrying a man old enough to be her father, who was the eldest son in a branch of the Hollywood aristocracy.

Unfortunately the film is spoiled a bit by the fact that we know Catherine Zeta Jones is who she is. She knows her part too well. This is the woman who claimed to be traumatised by a photos of her wedding illicitly taken by a gossip sheet. Now traumatised to me is living in a war zone... it might even stretch to losing a long-loved pet. But thinking you look fat or somesuch in a snap shot?

Clooney on the other hand... yes he too is obscenely overpaid, but is a good comedy actor. He's not the new Cary Grant (that great male lead of the classic screwball comedy), but he is pretty good.

This is an old-fashioned stylish comedy with plenty of gags, both verbal and physical, and some of the Coen brothers' eccentricity mixed in. Entertaining.
Score: 8/10
Reviewer: Rosalind Robson

Add new comment

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.