Intolerable Cruelty [2003]

A sleek George Clooney and a seductive Catherine Zeta-Jones square off magnificently in the divorce comedy Intolerable Cruelty. The plot is simple: Lawyer supreme Miles Massey (Clooney, Out of Sight, Ocean's Eleven) skillfully outmaneuvers gold-digger Marylin Rexroth (Zeta-Jones, Chicago, Traffic) when she divorces her wealthy husband--and she sets out to get revenge. But this movie comes from the creative minds of the Coen Brothers (Fargo, Raising Arizona, O Brother Where Art Thou?), and so Intolerable Cruelty includes a Scottish wedding chapel in Vegas, an asthmatic hit man, fluffy-dog-stroking European nobility, and a legendarily unbreakable pre-nuptial agreement. Still, it's pretty restrained for the Coens; smooth and consistent, it never stumbles as disappointingly as their movies can, but also never quite hits the operatic pitch of their best work. It's still damn funny, though, with top-notch performances from the leads as well as Geoffrey Rush, Cedric the Entertainer, and Billy Bob Thornton. --Bret Fetzer

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