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Intolerable Cruelty

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I wasn’t at all sure what to expect from a romantic comedy made by the Coens (except that it’d be good). A classic screwball romance from the guys that brought us Raising Arizona, Blood Simple, and Fargo? You know it’s gonna be strange.

I haven’t always loved George Clooney. I liked him on E.R. alright, but I thought he leaned on that persona in his early movies. You know, head down, sheepish smile… it only goes so far. But ever since Out of Sight he’s been a much more confident actor. He’s just full of charm, and he has such snap to his line readings. I truly think he’s now our Cary Grant, and I nominate him to be the next James Bond.

Anyway, he’s great in this new movie, and he’s matched well by Catherine Zeta Jones. She’s another actor that started out with a promising role (The Mask of Zorro) but then didn’t really follow up on it. Now she finally does. She’s an excellent comic actress, and I can’t wait to see her in more roles like this one.

The plot of the movie is simple and enticing. Clooney is Miles Massey, the best divorce lawyer in Los Angeles, and he’s representing Marilyn’s philandering, rich but indebted husband. He manages to get him out of the marriage by finding Marilyn’s Tenzing Norgay. Massey’s theory is that this divorce is Marilyn’s Mt. Everest, and for every Edmund Hillary there is a sherpa to do the heavy lifting. Well, the sherpa is found, and he’s used (to hilarious effect) to rip apart the wronged wife’s profession of love for her husband.

Meanwhile Miles falls for Marilyn (of course). Can they get together? Can Miles even fall in love? You’ll have to watch to find out.

The only problem I had with this movie was its length. It could have been a good thirty to forty-five minutes shorter, there was plenty that wouldn’t have been missed. No bother, even when it dragged it was fun.

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