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Intolerable Cruelty (2003)

George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, ... | CLOONEY AND ZETA-JONES
Image credit: Intolerable Cruelty
CLOONEY AND ZETA-JONES

Details Release Date: Oct 10, 2003; Rated: PG-13; Length: 100 Minutes; Genres: Comedy, Romance; With: George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones; Distributor: Universal

The latest effort from the Coen Brothers features George Clooney, their ''O Brother, Where Art Thou?'' star, as Miles, a skeevy divorce lawyer who meets his conniving match in Marylin (Catherine Zeta-Jones). When Miles rigs a trial so that Marylin will be cheated out of her alimony, the two are off and running in a game of one-upmanship. Cedric the Entertainer is a private eye who works both sides, while Billy Bob Thornton (another Coen alum) plays one of Marylin’s many ex-husbands. While her character may indeed be a money-grubbing manipulator, she’s also “a multifaceted person,” says Zeta-Jones. “I think she’s very serene, very calm with a lot of fire burning underneath her. She’s been very unlucky in love -- I don’t know why -- but she seems to be getting up there with the number of husbands.”

For the Coens, ''Intolerable Cruelty'' marks a first foray into what is seemingly a mass-market comedy, replete with a producer who knows how to milk mass-market comedy for millions -- Imagine’s Brian Grazer. “They wanted to work with me for the mainstream part of it,” says Grazer, “and I wanted to work with them for their quirky and artistic nature.” The result, says Grazer, is “a romantic comedy [that's] got these dark twists where the characters want to kill each other, but basically, it’s a movie where you want these two fabulous people to get together.”

And how did the Coens fare in the establishment? According to Cedric, like total pros. “If the Coens say you’re working from 8 to 4:30, you can set your clock by it,” he says. “They know it, they get it, and that’s it.”

The Killer Moment When Clooney's slick lawyer blows Zeta-Jones' divorce case apart with a surprise witness

Originally posted Aug 11, 2003 Published in issue #724-725 Aug 22, 2003 Order article reprints