Intolerable Cruelty

Intolerable Cruelty

Joel Coen (2003)

12A Certificate


Our Score
This is by far Joel and Ethan Coen's most expensive film and also their first working from an existing script. That it turns out to be their weakest effort so far may not be unconnected. A slick, colourful screwball comedy (like their own Hudsucker Proxy without the period setting), it follows the quest of ultra-successful divorce lawyer Miles Massey (George Clooney) to marry professional gold-digger Marylin Rexroth (Catherine Zeta-Jones) using his own cast-iron "pre-nup". This being a Coen brothers film, it's populated with wonderful, often grotesque supporting characters including Edward Herrmann's philandering millionaire, Billy Bob Thornton's dozy oilman and Jonathan Hadary's eccentric trial witness. But when these turns distract from rather than add to the central plot, you're in dangerous territory. There are moments of inspired, slapstick brilliance (not least those featuring an asthmatic hitman), and Clooney works his socks off, but it lacks a hard centre and plot keeps racing ahead of character. It's neither as unhinged as their Raising Arizona nor as warm as Fargo; let's hope this is an isolated blip on the Coens' graph.


A serial gold-digger plans her revenge on the flashy lawyer who stopped her coining a fortune out of her most recent husband, and as she turns on the charm, he struggles to come up with a counter-con. The Coen brothers' comedy, starring George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Geoffrey Rush, Cedric the Entertainer and Edward Herrmann.

Cast & Crew

Miles Longfellow Massey George Clooney
Marylin Rexroth Catherine Zeta-Jones
Donovan Donaly Geoffrey Rush
Gus Petch Cedric the Entertainer
Rex Rexroth Edward Herrmann
Wrigley Paul Adelstein
Freddy Bender Richard Jenkins
Howard Drexler Doyle Billy Bob Thornton
Sarah Batista O'Flanagan Sorkin Julia Duffy
Heinz, the Baron Krauss von Espy Jonathan Hadary
Herb Myerson Tom Aldredge
Director Joel Coen
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: UIPGuidance: May be edited for language.Available on: video, DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 24 Oct 2003