Intolerable Cruelty (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

Intolerable Cruelty (2003)



Critic Consensus: Though more mainstream than other Coen films, there are still funny oddball touches, and Clooney and Zeta-Jones sizzle like old-time movie stars.

Intolerable Cruelty Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Joel and Ethan Coen take on the classic battle-of-the-sexes screwball comedy with Intolerable Cruelty. George Clooney plays Miles Massey, a high-powered Los Angeles divorce lawyer nearing a midlife crisis . While representing wealthy client Rex Rexroth (Edward Herrmann), Miles meets his match in Rex's gold-digging wife, Marilyn Rexroth (Catherine Zeta-Jones). He's impressed by her similarly heartless ways of using marriage to fuel an expensive lifestyle, but he still defeats her in court. With Marilyn looking to get her revenge and Miles finding himself attracted to her, the two engage in a ruthless romantic pursuit to out-swindle each other. Billy Bob Thornton shows up in a small role as Texas oil tycoon Howard Doyle. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovimore
Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content, language and brief violence)
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: Matthew Stone, Robert Ramsey, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 10, 2004
Box Office: $35.1M
Universal Pictures - Official Site


George Clooney
as Miles Massey
Catherine Zeta-Jones
as Marylin Rexroth
Geoffrey Rush
as Donovan Donaly
Edward Herrmann
as Rex Rexroth
Richard Jenkins
as Freddy Bender
Billy Bob Thornton
as Howard D. Doyle
Julia Duffy
as Sarah Sorkin
Jonathan Hadary
as Heinz, the Baron Kr...
Tom Aldredge
as Herb Myerson
Irwin Keyes
as Wheezy Joe
Colin Linden
as Father Scott
Stacey Travis
as Bonnie Donaly
Jack Kyle
as Ollie Olerud
Judith Drake
as Mrs. Gutman
George Ives
as Mrs. Gutman's Lawyer
Booth Colman
as Gutman Trial Judge
Kristin Dattilo
as Rex' Young Woman
Wendle Josepher
as Miles' Receptionist
Mary Pat Gleason
as Nero's Waitress
Mia Cottet
as Ramona Barcelona
Kiersten Warren
as Claire O'Hara
Ken Sagoes
as Gus's Pal
Doug Fisher
as Maitre D'
Dale E. Turner
as Gus's Pal
Douglas Fisher
as Maitre d'
Mary Gillis
as Court Reporter
Julie Obburn
as Stewardess
Gary Marshal
as Las Vegas Waiter
Blake Clark
as Convention Secretary
Kate Luyben
as Santa Fe Tart
Allan Trautman
as Convention Lawyer
Camille Anderson
as Santa Fe Tart
Isabell Monk
as Judge Marva Munson
Kitana Baker
as Santa Fe Tart
Julie Osburn
as Stewardess
Bridget Marquardt
as Santa Fe Tart
Tamie Sheffield
as Santa Fe Tart
Emma Harrison
as Santa Fe Tart
John Bliss
as Mr. MacKinnon
Sean Fenton
as Bailiff
Kristin Dattilo-Hayw...
as Rex's Young Woman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Intolerable Cruelty

Critic Reviews for Intolerable Cruelty

All Critics (184) | Top Critics (44)

Here's an anomaly: a comedy about smart people.

Full Review… | October 13, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

The Coens do an efficient job of stamping their signature grotesquerie on sumptuous Beverly Hills and Las Vegas settings and ladling on gallows humor and malice, sometimes with the verve of early Robert Zemeckis.

Full Review… | November 7, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Inventive and hilarious.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Screwball comedy for older teens and adults.

Full Review… | December 24, 2010
Common Sense Media

A competent bit of work from which striking originality and idiosyncrasy have mostly been pruned away.

Full Review… | May 6, 2008

This is the Coens dabbling in the mainstream, and bending it to their will.

Full Review… | September 24, 2007

Audience Reviews for Intolerable Cruelty

Screwball comedy. The words alone, so often said with admiration and esteem, the item itself so little seen, its akin to invoking "Shangri-La", and yet here is the real deal, unexpected particularly for the casting of its chief stars. Somehow I don't think of them when I consider that ethereal quality known as talent. Yet it's here, witty dialogue delivered with verve. Commentary on not just the culture of the uber-rich lifestyle that is Beverly Hills, but also on our national obsession with money in particular, that fat baby: greed ("if I don't get more right now of whatever it is I want I'm gonna cry very loudly!"). Very good work.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

I was not expecting this gem; it was very funny and subtle in a way that only the Coen brothers can pull off. Its almost as entertaining as the Coens' "O Brother Where Art Thou," which also stars George Clooney. The balance between love and manipulation has never been funnier; it's a romantic black comedy if that makes any sense.
Clooney as divorce attorney Miles Massey is flawless, as is Catherine Zeta-Jones as conniving goldigger Marilyn Rexroth. CZJ is as funny as she is beautiful, definitely underrated as an actress. Its got a wonderful supporting cast: Cedric the Entertainer, Edward Hermann, and especially Julia Duffy-perfectly cast.
Stereotypes are skewered, and deception and hustling run rampant. God knows matrimonial attorneys deserve this treatment. If you missed this excellent film at theaters years ago, watch it now. I promise you'll love it.

Clintus M.
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer


Funny comedy about a divorce lawyer falling for a gold digger. Great chemistry between George and Catherine. George is brilliant at the slapstick comedy. Billy Bob Thorton is very funny.

Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

Intolerable Cruelty Quotes

– Submitted by Jon K (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Brendan C (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Brendan C (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Jane M (4 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Intolerable Cruelty on our Movie forum!