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Intolerable Cruelty (2003)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Crime, Romance | 10 October 2003 (USA)
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A beautiful gold digger matches wits with a shrewd Beverly Hills divorce lawyer who is increasingly attracted to her.

Directors:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (uncredited)

Writers:

Robert Ramsey (story), Matthew Stone (story) | 5 more credits »
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Clooney ... Miles
Catherine Zeta-Jones ... Marylin
Geoffrey Rush ... Donovan Donaly
Cedric the Entertainer ... Gus Petch
Edward Herrmann ... Rex Rexroth
Paul Adelstein ... Wrigley
Richard Jenkins ... Freddy Bender
Billy Bob Thornton ... Howard D. Doyle
Julia Duffy ... Sarah Sorkin
Jonathan Hadary ... Heinz, the Baron Krauss von Espy
Tom Aldredge ... Herb Myerson
Stacey Travis ... Bonnie Donaly
Jack Kyle ... Ollie Olerud
Irwin Keyes ... Wheezy Joe
Judith Drake ... Mrs. Gutman
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Storyline

Miles Massey, a prominent Los Angeles divorce attorney has everything--and in some cases, two of everything. Despite his impressive client list, a formidable win record, the respect of his peers and an ironclad contract (the Massey pre-nup) named after him, he's reached a crossroads in his life. Sated on success, boredom has set in and he's looking for new challenges. All that changes when Miles meets his match in the devastating Marylin Rexroth. Marylin is the soon-to-be ex-wife of his client Rex Rexroth, a wealthy real estate developer and habitual philanderer. With the help of hard charging private investigator Gus Petch, she has Rex nailed and is looking forward to the financial independence a successful divorce will bring. But thanks to Miles' considerable skills, she ends up with nothing. Not to be outdone, Marylin schemes to get even and as part of her plan, quickly marries oil tycoon Howard Doyle. Miles and his unflappable associate, Wrigley, unwittingly dig themselves in ... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They can't keep their hands off each others assets. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

10 October 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Intolerable See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,525,075, 12 October 2003, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$35,327,628

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$120,217,409
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS (8 channels)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The logo on the door handle of the Rexroth mansion is the same as the logo for the Rich company in Ri¢hie Ri¢h (1994) where Edward Herrmann played Richard Rich marking the second time the actor has played a character with repetitive Rs in his name. This is likely a homage from the film makers to his previous role. See more »

Goofs

During the courtroom scene when Heinz, the Baron Krauss Von Espy first walks up to the witness stand, his dog has a purple bow on its head. In the next shot, the bow is gone, and then it reappears again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Donovan Donaly: [singing] I'm just a poor boy, though my story's seldom told.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Adios SEÑOR GREAZER. Hello MISTER HAND. See more »

Connections

References Ocean's Eleven (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played on an organ before the wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Back to form.
22 February 2004 | by FilmSnobbySee all my reviews

I had been slightly disappointed with the Coens' previous *The Man Who Wasn't There* -- it was, in my judgment, their first non-masterpiece since their apprentice-work *Blood Simple*. While all their films are self-consciously derivative, *Wasn't There* was derivative without the wit (though brilliantly filmed and acted regardless).

*Intolerable Cruelty* is a return to a less fussy Coen style. It's lean, mean, to the point, no wasted scenes. And it's very witty, featuring dialogue and references that have clearly sailed over the average idiot's head, as well as the fairweather Coen Brothers fan's head. Joel and Ethan remind us here that a mainstream IDEA for a movie is not equivalent to a STUPID idea for a movie. The movie mixes wild slapstick with delicious bon mots. There's always something going on. And the picture looks fantastic (another triumph for DP Roger Deakins), showing us a shimmering, sunlit paradise of an almost mythical Los Angeles. The leads, George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones, are also shot to advantage: neither have looked better, and Zeta Jones in particular practically sucks your breath away every time she appears in a different Rodeo Drive confection. Yowza!

The film failed, as almost all Coen Brothers' movies fail, at the box office because, while delightful and funny, it's also ICE-COLD. The filmmakers, as they always do, distance us from the characters, inviting us to contemplate them rather than to get emotionally involved with them. This is a formula for box-office disaster, especially for romantic comedy. The women-demographic who came expecting a chick-flick were turned off cold, and the guys stayed away, anyway. Coen Brothers "fans" once again proved to be a fickle bunch, lambasting the film as too "mainstream" while utterly failing to get the subtext. These are the same "fans", by the way, who avoided *Lebowski* and *Hudsucker* and *Barton Fink* because it was too "excessive" and/or "weird". Make up your minds, fairweathers. In any case, I'll be one of the "I-Told-You-Sos" when, a decade hence, *Intolerable Cruelty* will be regarded as one of the few intelligent romantic comedies made in recent times.

Let me put it this way: if you think a movie in which the two romantic leads put a contract on each other is too "mainstream", you've revealed yourself as a poseur who should leave the amateur reviewing to the grown-ups. Have a nice day.


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