Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Intolerably Fun

One of the perks of writing a blog is the opportunity to talk about some overlooked gems that deserve a wider audience.

One such film is the Coen Brothers' film, Intolerable Cruelty. Starring George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones, Intolerable Cruelty was released in follow up to the deservingly successful O Brother, Where Art Thou. However, while O Brother struck a chord, Intolerable Cruelty received lukewarm reviews and did disappointing box office.

I suspect this was partly due to raised expectations caused by the success of O Brother. I've seen Intolerable Cruelty several times, and consider it among the Coens' best and funniest (along with the Hudsucker Proxy, another personal favorite). In Cruelty, Clooney plays Miles Massey, an immensely successful divorce lawyer who thwarts a gold-digging divorcee played by Jones from striking it rich in her divorce. Both, of course, become attracted to each other, and hi-jinks, romantic sparks, and double-crosses ensue.

Like many Coen films, Intolerable Cruelty has a streak of Warner Bros. cartoon comic lunacy and dark humor running through it, but it also plays like a classic 1930's screwball comedy. Many people have compared Clooney to Cary Grant, and in this film particularly the comparison is actually very apt. Though Grant's iconic image is based on his style and elegance, Grant was also quite a physical comedian, often mugging shamelessly for the camera. Here, Clooney successfully channels Grant's screwball persona to great comic effect.

This is a terrific--and, more importantly, hilarious--film that deserves a wider audience.

No comments: