Intolerable Cruelty

Intolerable Cruelty ★★½

Intolerable Cruelty is an interesting failure from the Cohens. Everyone here is working 110% to make the central conceit of the movie works (a sort of takedown of the rom com tropes we were all sick of by the early 2000's), but despite the effort the movie never quite achieves what it sets out to accomplish. The performers do give it their all, which becomes part of the problem half way through the film. What I mean by that, is that the movie is so desperately asking the audience to laugh at its jokes and see how clever it is, that it just turns the viewer off more and more with each escalation of the ridiculous plot. George Clooney, in particular, is working at a level where his usual charm becomes grating and spreads to the film as a whole. Not to mention the fact that Clooney and Zeta-Jones have zero chemistry, which dooms the emotional core of the story from frame one.

Still, the Cohens are undoubtedly assured filmmakers, with impressive technical and aesthetic command over their material. It's a shame there wasn't a story here to sustain the talent behind the camera.

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