Intolerable Cruelty

Intolerable Cruelty ★★★

Intolerable Cruelty, the Coen brothers’ attempt at romance, feels like a string of trailers for different movies. There is the central romance, between a divorce lawyer and a gold digger, and there are the purely chaotic scenes, part of the Coens’ brand of absurdism. If they master a perfect blend of tones in many of their other films, here, the switches come across as jarring and the chaos everything builds towards feels too manufactured and forced. The romance isn’t entirely believable either. George Clooney’s and Catherine Zeta-Jones’ characters are more cardboard cutouts than people, falling in love with each other because that’s the way of things. He falls in love, she… has other plans. Until she doesn’t. They do a dance around each other that has plenty of chemistry, but is severely lacking in emotion. As a Coens film, Intolerable Cruelty is not unwatchable. It has its scattered entertaining moments, but looks like a poor imitation next to the rest of their filmography, empty and too dry.

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