COURTING TROUBLES ( At the Box-Office )

Once you get past the movie's strangely inappropriate title Intolerable Cruelty, which isn't a domestic-violence thriller at all, is tremendous fun. The Coen brothers finally go big budget and cut loose in this frequently hilarious tale of love and deception in and out of court, ...

By Chandrashekhar

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Published: Sat 14 Feb 2004, 10:34 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:34 AM

Universal/Imagine Entertainment


(on screens at cinemas in the UAE)

all the while retaining their stock-in-trade exaggerated characters, witty lines and an unpredictable plot.

Miles Massey (George Clooney) is a high-profile California divorce lawyer who seldom loses a case - even if his client is adulterous as hell. In an illustrating opening sequence we see how thriving TV soap producer Donovan Donaly (Geoffrey Rush) is taken to the cleaners even though

(a) he caught his wife in flagrante delicto with a pool cleaner

(b) they don't have a pool

(c) she assaulted him with a pronged TV award and drove off in his Jaguar

(d) he had photographic evidence.

Miles meets his match when the beautiful Marilyn Rexroth (Catherine Zeta-Jones) enters his life. Marilyn's suing her straying husband (played by Edward Herrmann like a goofy Fred Flintstone) for all he's got - which is quite a bit - when Miles once again produces a surprise witness like a rabbit out of a hat to prove Marilyn was a gold digger all along. But by now Miles finds himself drawn to the fascinatingly beautiful and enigmatic Marilyn, and she isn't done with her husband collection yet. . .

Intolerable Cruelty's greatest asset is the sizzling chemistry between its lead stars: you can't take your eyes off the screen. As in most Coen brothers' movies, there's a mesmerising supporting cast of oddballs: Cedric the Entertainer as Gus Petch, the man who collects evidence for Miles; Paul Adelstein as Miles's assistant Ridley, who cries at the drop of a hat (or the throw of a bouquet), Irwin Keyes as asthmatic hit man Wheezy Joe; and a gaggle of bored super-rich LA females who discuss new trends in botox, divorce lawyers and their next marital quarry.

There can't be many movies out there holding appeal for cynics and romantics likewise, but this one comes close as an enjoyable and funny battle of the sexes.

Rating: ***

Starring George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Geoffrey Rush, Cedric the Entertainer, Edward Herrmann, Paul Adelstein, Richard Jenkins, Billy Bob Thornton, Julia Duffy, Jonathan Hadary, Tom Aldredge, Stacey Travis, Jack Kyle, Irwin Keyes

Music by Carter Burwell

Edited by Roderick Jaynes

Cinematography by Roger Deakins

Screenplay by Robert Ramsey, Matthew Stone, Ethan Coen & Joel Coen

Produced by Ethan Coen, Brian Grazer

Directed by Joel Coen

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