17. Intolerable Cruelty
2003/04 were something resembling a lull in the career of the Coens as they had back to back films that were well below their usual quality. Their worst effort to date, The Ladykillers, was preceded by Intolerable Cruelty- another below par comedy from the usually reliable siblings.
The film follows George Clooney’s shrewd divorce lawyer as he pits his wits against the gold-digging talents of Catherine Zeta-Jones’ Marilyn. Credit must be given to the films two leads because they both deliver great performances in the film, but sadly it just fails to ever really feel like a Coen Brothers movie.
The movie comes across as a much more by-the numbers romantic comedy that rarely features any semblance of the Coen’s unique style or voice. It is not a bad film by any means, but just not a great one either. It is an exceptionally vanilla effort by some of Hollywood’s greatest film-making minds and as such can not be held up among some of the best titles that have spawned from those much celebrated brains.