Film Reviews, Short Review

Intolerable Cruelty (2003)


Whilst I’ve yet to see their remake of The Ladykillers, Intolerable Cruelty is almost the Coen Brothers’ worst film to date. Yet, ‘worst’ feels like the wrong word. It’s not an awful film by any means; the brothers love updating Hollywood Golden-age film genres for the modern day, and the approach is the same here with regards to the classic screwball comedies pioneered by Ernst Lubitsch and mastered by Howard Hawks. And who better to star in such a film than George Clooney, the closest approximation to a modern-day Cary Grant? His performance is suitably smooth and charismatic, though it doesn’t really challenge Clooney in any way, and his co-star Catherine Zeta Jones is fair too. But Intolerable Cruelty ultimately just feels too easy. It’s a standard rom-com with a handful of (very funny) Coens touches, rather than a Coen brothers film filtered through a rom-com. As such it’s almost instantly forgettable.


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