INTOLERABLE CRUELTY

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Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: October 10, 2003

Starring: George Clooney, Catherine
Zeta-Jones, Geoffrey Rush,
Edward Herrmann, Cedric the
Entertainer, and Billy Bob
Thornton

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Audience: Teenagers and adults REVIEWER:
Jerry Langford INTOLERABLE
CRUELTY opens as a husband
(Geoffrey Rush) comes home
early from work and learns his
wife has had a sexual fling
with a pool repairman.
Slapstick silliness ensues and
the marriage heads straight to
divorce court. Though the wife
has damaged the marriage, she
selects Miles Massey (George
Clooney) to represent her.
Massey is considered the best
divorce settlement attorney in
the industry and he
successfully twists and
manipulates the story so that
his client is quickly made a
millionaire and the betrayed
husband is left homeless and
destitute. Each case Massey
handles is about infidelity,
often documented through
videotaped or private
detective work, and the
endless blows to marriage
become intolerably cruel for
the audience. Even so, Massey
is bored and unfulfilled. He
has reached his greatest
goals, owns expensive toys
(cars, jets, homes, etc.), yet
feels unsatisfied. Massey
agrees to take the case of
wealthy Rex Rexroth (Edward
Herrmann), who is caught
cheating on his wife Marilyn
(Catherine Zeta-Jones). Once
again, though he betrayed his
wife, Massey helps him to a
victory where Marilyn is left
with nothing. Now, however, he
is smitten by the beautiful
(and single again) Marilyn,
and his infatuation with her
begins to change his cynical
view on love and marriage. He
decides to pursue her but is
surprised to learn she has
already found another wealthy
prospect of a husband (Billy
Bob Thornton). After a 30-day
marriage scam, she dumps her
new husband to claim half his
net worth. Six months later,
she meets Massey in Las Vegas
and woos him to the brink of
his sanity. A super-fast Vegas
chapel marriage follows the
all-important pre-nuptial
agreement signing, and the
newlyweds spend their first
night together. Will the
wealthier spouse suffer net
worth annihilation or will
love conquer all? Many more
hijinks and slapstick
silliness ensue as INTOLERABLE
CRUELTY moves faster than a
divorce attorney's court
injunction. Later, an imposing
thug named Wheezy Joe is hired
to kill one spouse, then
turned again to kill the other
spouse. Then, the story veers
toward absurdity again and the
plot twists become more and
more outrageous. It is all
done for fun and hilarity's
sake, and much of it succeeds
as comedy. Clooney and
Zeta-Jones are in top form
here and their star power
mutually shines. Were it not
for them, INTOLERABLE CRUELTY
would be intolerably
insufferable. Clooney falls
back on his
southern-drawl-accelerated
comedic timing by
regurgitating a little of his
hysterically funny O BROTHER,
WHERE ART THOU? character,
Ulysses Everett McGill. At the
same time, he locks in
Hollywood's leading romantic
position and yet has the
ability, like Cary Grant in
the '40s, to laugh at his own
caricature. Zeta-Jones, on the
other hand, is positively
radiant without even trying.
She is more the "straight-man"
to all the comedic silliness,
but she floats above all the
frenetic carnage without being
scathed. When her self-assured
and sensual character is
finally pitted against
Clooney's Massey, there is
little doubt about who will be
vanquished. INTOLERABLE
CRUELTY is a very funny movie
about shallow, crass, selfish
and greedy people. Yet, it is
still the institution of
marriage which takes body
blows every ten minutes or so.
Even when Massey becomes a
love-convert and preaches to a
very tough audience at a
divorce attorneys' convention,
moviegoers will sense that it
is just a matter of time
before his newfound faith in
love and marriage is dashed on
the rocks waiting below.
Betrayal, broken trust, and
infidelities are not laughing
matters, but this movie sadly
presents marriage as the
biggest joke. Recognizing that
the practice (or is it a
sport?) of marrying for money
may be commonplace in
Hollywood, this movie is a
little easier to stomach since
Hollywood seems to be poking
fun at itself. Thankfully, it
does not pull out all the
stops to smash marriage and
family. On the contrary, it
not-so-subtly implies that
work and wealth are not in
themselves fulfilling and life
is far better when it can be
shared with someone you love.
INTOLERABLE CRUELTY tries to
redeem its meanness with a
sweetened solution and a
not-unpredictable romantic
conclusion, but then it
resorts to laughing at
marriage again in the
end. Though INTOLERABLE
CRUELTY is a funny movie not
grounded in anyone's reality,
extreme caution is still urged
for the discerning
viewer. Please address your
comments to: Stacey Snider,
Chairman Universal
Pictures Ron Meyer,
President/COO Universal
Studios 100 Universal City
Plaza Universal City, CA
91608-1085 Phone: (818)
777-1000 Web Page:
www.universalstudios.com

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 99 minutes

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Director: Joel Coen

Executive Producer:

Producer: Ethan Coen and Brian
Grazer EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS:
Sean Daniel and James Jacks

Writer: Joel and Ethan Coen, Robert
Ramsey, Matthew Stone, and
John Romano

Address Comments To:

Content:

(H, RoRo, Fe, Ab, B, LL, VV, S, A, D, MM) Humanist worldview with strong Romantic elements glorifying divorce and multiple marriage-for-profit schemes, and anti-biblical themes surface as marriage, love, and trust are mocked, though movie implies that work and wealth are not in themselves fulfilling and life is far better when it can be shared with someone you love; 11 obscenities (one "f" word), six profanities, and eight blasphemies; moderate violence includes man hit on head with heavy object, then stabbed in rear with pointy lifetime achievement award (some blood shown on clothes), dogs chase men, many gunshots, killer hired to kill spouse, man shoots and kills himself by mistake; kissing, numerous scenes and storylines about implied infidelity, wife discusses husband's sex toys in courtroom testimony, and married couple has an "understanding" they can see other people; female cleavage and men and women in underwear; alcohol use; smoking; and, lying, betrayal, stealing, marriage-for-profit schemes, talk of elective surgeries, divorce promoted as "passport" to wealth, independence and freedom, and wedding vows expressing faith in each other's love, with no reference to God.

GENRE: Romantic Comedy

H

Fe

Ab

B

LL

D

MM

VV

RoRo

S

Summary:

INTOLERABLE CRUELTY is about a clever divorce settlement attorney who meets his match in a beautiful gold digger who marries rich men for their money. INTOLERABLE CRUELTY moves faster than a divorce attorney's court injunction, but it is still the institution of marriage that takes the body blows.

Review:

INTOLERABLE CRUELTY opens as a husband (Geoffrey Rush) comes home early from work and learns his wife has had a sexual fling with a pool repairman. Slapstick silliness ensues and the marriage heads straight to divorce court. Though the wife has damaged the marriage, she selects Miles Massey (George Clooney) to represent her. Massey is considered the best divorce settlement attorney in the industry and he successfully twists and manipulates the story so that his client is quickly made a millionaire and the betrayed husband is left homeless and destitute.

Each case Massey handles is about infidelity, often documented through videotaped or private detective work, and the endless blows to marriage become intolerably cruel for the audience. Even so, Massey is bored and unfulfilled. He has reached his greatest goals, owns expensive toys (cars, jets, homes, etc.), yet feels unsatisfied.

Massey agrees to take the case of wealthy Rex Rexroth (Edward Herrmann), who is caught cheating on his wife Marilyn (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Once again, though he betrayed his wife, Massey helps him to a victory where Marilyn is left with nothing. Now, however, he is smitten by the beautiful (and single again) Marilyn, and his infatuation with her begins to change his cynical view on love and marriage.

He decides to pursue her but is surprised to learn she has already found another wealthy prospect of a husband (Billy Bob Thornton). After a 30-day marriage scam, she dumps her new husband to claim half his net worth. Six months later, she meets Massey in Las Vegas and woos him to the brink of his sanity. A super-fast Vegas chapel marriage follows the all-important pre-nuptial agreement signing, and the newlyweds spend their first night together. Will the wealthier spouse suffer net worth annihilation or will love conquer all?

Many more hijinks and slapstick silliness ensue as INTOLERABLE CRUELTY moves faster than a divorce attorney's court injunction. Later, an imposing thug named Wheezy Joe is hired to kill one spouse, then turned again to kill the other spouse. Then, the story veers toward absurdity again and the plot twists become more and more outrageous. It is all done for fun and hilarity's sake, and much of it succeeds as comedy.

Clooney and Zeta-Jones are in top form here and their star power mutually shines. Were it not for them, INTOLERABLE CRUELTY would be intolerably insufferable. Clooney falls back on his southern-drawl-accelerated comedic timing by regurgitating a little of his hysterically funny O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? character, Ulysses Everett McGill. At the same time, he locks in Hollywood's leading romantic position and yet has the ability, like Cary Grant in the '40s, to laugh at his own caricature.

Zeta-Jones, on the other hand, is positively radiant without even trying. She is more the "straight-man" to all the comedic silliness, but she floats above all the frenetic carnage without being scathed. When her self-assured and sensual character is finally pitted against Clooney's Massey, there is little doubt about who will be vanquished.

INTOLERABLE CRUELTY is a very funny movie about shallow, crass, selfish and greedy people. Yet, it is still the institution of marriage which takes body blows every ten minutes or so. Even when Massey becomes a love-convert and preaches to a very tough audience at a divorce attorneys' convention, moviegoers will sense that it is just a matter of time before his newfound faith in love and marriage is dashed on the rocks waiting below. Betrayal, broken trust, and infidelities are not laughing matters, but this movie sadly presents marriage as the biggest joke.

Recognizing that the practice (or is it a sport?) of marrying for money may be commonplace in Hollywood, this movie is a little easier to stomach since Hollywood seems to be poking fun at itself. Thankfully, it does not pull out all the stops to smash marriage and family. On the contrary, it not-so-subtly implies that work and wealth are not in themselves fulfilling and life is far better when it can be shared with someone you love. INTOLERABLE CRUELTY tries to redeem its meanness with a sweetened solution and a not-unpredictable romantic conclusion, but then it resorts to laughing at marriage again in the end.

Though INTOLERABLE CRUELTY is a funny movie not grounded in anyone's reality, extreme caution is still urged for the discerning viewer.

Please address your comments to:

Stacey Snider, Chairman

Universal Pictures

Ron Meyer, President/COO

Universal Studios

100 Universal City Plaza

Universal City, CA 91608-1085

Phone: (818) 777-1000

Web Page: www.universalstudios.com

SUMMARY: INTOLERABLE CRUELTY is about a clever divorce settlement attorney who meets his match in a beautiful gold digger who marries rich men for their money. INTOLERABLE CRUELTY moves faster than a divorce attorney's court injunction, but it is still the institution of marriage that takes the body blows.

In Brief: