• PG-13, 1 hr. 40 min.
  • Comedy, Romance
  • Directed By:
    Joel Coen
    In Theaters:
    Oct 10, 2003 Wide
    On DVD:
    Feb 10, 2004
  • Universal Pictures

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Intolerable Cruelty Reviews

Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
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Here's an anomaly: a comedy about smart people.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

October 13, 2009
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
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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 Source: Chicago Reader

November 7, 2007
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
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Inventive and hilarious.

Full Review Source: Time Out

February 9, 2006
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
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The Coen Brothers do provide enough of a diversion with bits and pieces of wacko casting, and with the deranged details of dress and makeup of their fleeting gargoyles, to make the proceedings at least moderately amusing.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

October 23, 2003
Rex Reed
New York Observer
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This dim-witted, mean-spirited and brain-dead calamity should surprise no one.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

October 16, 2003
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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[T]here's a lot of problems with the script, and some of the stuff with Edward Herrmann I don't think works at all, it's not funny it just kind of falls flat. But Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones, I think they deliver enough to say it's worth seeing.

Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper

October 13, 2003
David Edelstein
Slate
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No different from most of the other dumb slapstick spoofs that pass for screwball comedy these days.

Full Review Source: Slate

October 11, 2003
Charles Taylor
Salon.com
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George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones square off deliciously, but this '30s-style battle of the sexes from the Coen brothers never catches fire.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

October 11, 2003
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
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In its nasty, blackhearted take on contemporary coupling and uncoupling, Intolerable Cruelty has the distant though unmistakable ring of truth.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

October 10, 2003
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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Smart, silly, splenetic and a bit smug, it's a movie that might put a viewer's teeth on edge were it not for its winning lead performances.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

October 10, 2003
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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Not brilliantly funny nor incisively clever, Intolerable Cruelty is still moderately satirical and laugh-out-loud enjoyable.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 3/4

October 10, 2003
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
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If you're going to take comic aim at a target as big and obvious as Beverly Hills matrimonial combat, the least you can do is what Joel and Ethan Coen do in their neo-screwball anti-romantic comedy Intolerable Cruelty: spare no ammunition.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 3/5

October 10, 2003
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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Wonderfully fluffy concoction.

| Original Score: 3.5/4

October 10, 2003
Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
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Too slick but amusing marital farce.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

October 10, 2003
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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A frustratingly sharp misfire that comes close to being hilarious but never quite clicks in its pacing, timing or tone.

| Original Score: 3/5

October 10, 2003
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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Edward Herrmann gets a very funny part as a train-happy millionaire; Cedric the Entertainer pulls the movie in another direction as a streety private detective. And as Clooney's worshipful, weepy best friend, Paul Adelstein nearly steals the movie.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger

October 10, 2003
Elvis Mitchell
New York Times
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An intelligent, modern screwball comedy.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

October 10, 2003
Megan Lehmann
New York Post
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Harks back to the screwball comedies of Howard Hawks and Preston Sturges -- and owes much of its pizzazz to the spark-plug pairing of George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

| Original Score: 3.5/4

October 10, 2003
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
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If Intolerable Cruelty isn't a convincing love story, it's a hugely entertaining one.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/4

October 10, 2003
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
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The movie simply isn't interesting.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: C

October 10, 2003
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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If Intolerable Cruelty establishes one thing, it's that George Clooney is the closest thing that contemporary Hollywood has to an old-fashioned matinee idol.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

October 10, 2003
Tom Long
Detroit News
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An amiable romp of a movie, a romantic comedy in which romance is plundered and ridiculed while simultaneously longed for.

| Original Score: B+

October 10, 2003
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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Watching Clooney's Miles and Zeta-Jones' Marylin eye each other is a simmering pleasure.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 3/4

October 10, 2003
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
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It's determined to keep Clooney's considerable comedic skills front and center. He's never been looser, sexier, or more antic.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3/4

October 10, 2003
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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Clooney and Zeta-Jones make for a glamorous couple, and there is enough chemistry between them that you might find yourself wondering if Michael Douglas has a Miles Massey prenup.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 3/4

October 10, 2003
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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Better in its setup than in its resolution, Intolerable Cruelty nonetheless provides laughs and a fine comic performance from George Clooney.

| Original Score: B

October 10, 2003
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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Joel and Ethan are bounteously gifted filmmakers, but sometimes you just want them to lay off the irony and climb down here with the groundlings.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 2.5/4

October 10, 2003
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
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Little more than an exercise in mimicry, an empty if stylish exercise in mocking sendup.

| Original Score: 3/5

October 9, 2003
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
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Testimony to the power of old-style star wattage.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: B

October 9, 2003
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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So clever, so funny, so suavely entertaining that it comes as a shock to realize that it's not nearly as satisfying as all those qualities would lead you to believe.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 3/5

October 9, 2003
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
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There are obvious Coen touches, comic Post-it notes from the underground that have a 'Kilroy was here' feel. But mostly, killjoy was here.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

October 9, 2003
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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Clooney is definitely the man of these two hours. His portrait of a shark in love is a model of classy comic acting.

| Original Score: 3/4

October 9, 2003
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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There are laughs here aplenty, and sexy, goofy, off-the-cuff charm.

| Original Score: 3/4

October 9, 2003
John Anderson
Newsday
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As Miles Massey, Clooney brings an absurdist charm -- and some Cary Grant-like gestural hilarity.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 2.5/4

October 9, 2003
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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Rarely has strife between the sexes been so ruthless, so civilized, and so funny.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 9, 2003
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Intolerable Cruelty isn't half as clever as most Coen films ... but it's much more likable.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 9, 2003
Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
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Full of malicious fun, weirdness and enough star power to blast through any repetitiveness.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 2.5/4

October 9, 2003
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
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The Coens fail to give us a compelling reason why, if at all, we should invest ourselves in how things pan out.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

October 9, 2003
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
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Elegant, cheerfully cynical fun of the kind we used to get regularly from Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks and other masters of the classic Hollywood screwball comedy.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 9, 2003
Steve Murray
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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A display of two high-wattage stars sweating to enliven a paper-thin script that substitutes plot twists for an engaging story.

Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Original Score: C

October 9, 2003
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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I cannot detect a heartbeat of feeling, no matter how close I press a stethoscope against the star machinery of George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: C

October 8, 2003
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
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To see Clooney tenderize, season, grill, and serve this ham hock of a role is to see an old-fashioned virtuoso in perpetual motion.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

October 8, 2003
Jean Oppenheimer
Hollywood Reporter
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A broad farce that is long on manic, cartoonish behavior and short on intelligence and wit.

September 5, 2003
David Rooney
Variety
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A thoroughly entertaining comedy about love, lawyers and fat divorce settlements.

Full Review Source: Variety

September 4, 2003
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