Intolerable Cruelty (2003)

IntolerableCruelty

Written by Ethan, Joel, Robert Ramsay and Matthew Stone; directed by Joel; produced by Ethan

A divorce lawyer meets his match when he comes up against a gold-digging wife…

Seen before? No.

Best performance: Catherine Zeta-Jones is lovely to look at. But performance-wise? No one comes out of this well.

Coen regulars (running total of appearances): George Clooney (2) plays lawyer Miles Massey. Richard Jenkins (2), Billy Bob Thornton (2) and Bruce Campbell (3) have small roles.

Best bit: N/A.

Review: This clearly wants to be a screwball comedy, like something directed by Billy Wilder, but instead it feels like someone inelegantly copying the Coens’ style. It’s forced rather than free-flowing, laboured rather than light. It’s the brothers’ first contemporary movie since Raising Arizona, eight films ago (even Fargo and The Big Lebowski are period, being set in 1987 and 1991 respectively). But sadly it gets more tedious the longer it goes on – and is just not funny at all. If you’re going to make a film about such unlikeable characters being idiots, it needs wit and panache. However, this is just misogynistic rubbish.

Three Tenzing Norgays out of 10.

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