Osbourne Cox, a Balkan expert, resigned from the CIA because of a drinking problem, so he begins a memoir. His wife wants a divorce and expects her lover, Harry, a philandering State Department marshal, to leave his wife. A CD-ROM falls out of a gym bag at a Georgetown fitness center. Two employees there try to turn it into cash: Linda, who wants money for cosmetic surgery, and Chad, an amiable goof. Information on the disc leads them to Osbourne who rejects their sales pitch; then they visit the Russian embassy. To sweeten the pot, they decide they need more of Osbourne's secrets. Meanwhile, Linda's boss likes her, and Harry's wife leaves for a book tour. All roads lead to Osbourne's house. Written by
George Clooney has stated he learns a lot from the Coen brothers for his career as a director and tries to have things running the same way they do on his films, even hiring their storyboard artist, J. Todd Anderson, on two of them. See more »
The check that Osbourne Cox wrote was returned NSF to him, when in reality it would be returned to the payee. See more »
This film is packed with superb performances and extreme character juxtapositions: Clooney's used car salesman approach to the fairer sex, Frances McDormand's desperation for cosmetic surgery that leads her into the most unlikely of alliances with the gawky idiot played hilariously by Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton's studied coldness and straightness and her manic, dangerously disappointed husband played by a masterful and creepy John Malkovich...the plot, as with many Coen brothers films, is almost irrelevant: it's the set-pieces and the way that things happen that grabs you. I think you either love it or you hate it and as I have a sense of humour (somewhere) I love it.
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