Coen brothers try to make an old-fashioned screwball comedy homage. George Clooney's teeth are fascinating and he has great fun in his role, but Catherine Zeta-Jones character is so smug and without sympathy that the movie lacks any kind of believable romance in it. Great small details and fun dialogue help this movie and it is better than a lot of other romantic comedies out there, but the ending feels tacked on.
Vaguely crass in a way I find it hard to put my finger on and is never any more than the sum of its shiny, superficial parts... but it made me and my partner at the time laugh an unreasonable amount and it is intoxicatingly cynical. Basically I like it against my better judgement!
Has the benefit of being the Coen's most underrated film, if only because that spot is relatively uncontested. I like them most at peak-ridiculousness, and with the acting and names on display here, this is a comedic gem. Special props to Jenkins whose exasperated gestures make this. Would be higher if the final act didn't feel so hurried - the leap to murder feels unearned and the film starts to move through paces.
Warm cinematography, delectable interplay between Clooney and Zeta-Jones, and some suave intertextuality (allusions to Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Purloined Letter'), but it lacks the spark of Clooney's previous outing in 'Out of Sight' alongside Jennifer Lopez. It feels like a tale that could have gone deeper, but played safe with screwball comedy tropes.
Maligned and misunderstood upon release, INTOLERABLE CRUELTY examines the fickle nature of marriage, money and love, tongue firmly in cheek. Example: George Clooney's obsession with his teeth ends only after he has "mounted" Catherine Zeta Jones, who has never looked this good (thanks Roger Deakins). Such character nuances exist within a broader zany world the Coens suggest is much closer to real life than you think.
Screwball comedies stop being made for a reason. The language of cinema changed and evolved and, in many ways, it killed the cinematic appeal of the screwball. The Coens hit many right notes and the cast is impeccable but in the end of the day there is an inability to innovate which propel too many awkward moments.