Intolerable Cruelty is usually found at or near the bottom of Best-to-Worst films by the Coen Brothers:
- #15 of 16, by Adam Cook on Letterboxd
- #15 of 15, by David Haglund for Slate
- #10 of 15, by Ann Hornaday for The Seattle Times
- #13 of 14, by Andrew Osborne for Nerve
You get the idea. But Intolerable Cruelty is the movie for you if what you’ve always wanted is a modern-day Cary Grant-type romantic comedy in which two opposites fall reluctantly in love, seasoned with dashes of that unmistakable Coen flavor:
- slapstick ultraviolence: A grotesque giant accidentally shoots himself in the mouth, and it’s played for laughs.
- creepy weirdness: The nightmarish boss from hell is straight out of an old Sam Raimi movie.
- basement humor: This screenplay’s idea of witty banter is to have everybody say “nail your ass” over and over. A lot.
It’s biggest failing is that the chemistry between the leads only goes one way. Whether by design or Catherine Zeta-Jones’ blank performance, George Clooney plays smitten kitten to her ice queen. Clooney falls all over her, mugging like a madman (as if he were doing an impression of Jim Carrey, come to think of it), while she looks mildly bored at best.