Intolerable Cruelty

Intolerable Cruelty ★★★


Interesting conflict here. The story is absolute rubbish, nothing but a sequential unfolding of hoary clichés and foreseeable events. Even the concept is uninspired—money hungry gold digger makes a living from deceiving rich men, marrying them, then splitting with half of their net worth until eventually she ends up actually falling in love with one of the guys. Sounds like an awful mid-90s Lifetime special. And it would play like one, too, if it weren't for the superb cast. Everyone from Clooney to Zeta-Jones to Thornton to Cedric the Entertainer is on top of the ball, here, able to concoct quite a bit of laughter from a story that's rather repugnant. I guess that has a lot to do with the dialogue, though, which is also not bad. It's not the Coens' best work, but it's better than most directors would probably do with such a hackneyed source material (seriously, I'd hate to see what this would've looked like in the hands of a less competent director with a less enthusiastic cast). The bottom line is that INTOLERABLE CRUELTY has a painfully egregious plot with a ton of hilarious moments thanks mostly to the Coens' dialogue and its subsequent delivery from the aforementioned actors. If you're typically not a fan of their discursive style of humor, then you'll absolutely hate this because there's really no other redeeming factor in the tale itself. But, if you're a fan of the verbal whiplash of, say, BURN AFTER READING, there's a chance you'll enjoy this more than the average viewer. I did, but it's nevertheless a big step down from the Coens' best stuff. Just please don't expect any amount of intelligence, romance, or sincerity from the narrative. Still a healthy bit better than things like THE LADYKILLERS or HAIL, CAESAR! because it never quite devolves into the ridiculous portraiture of the former or the jumbled vignette mess of the latter. (Or maybe it has to do with the fact that I could listen to George Clooney recite Coen brothers' dialogue for days? Hmm.)

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