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Intolerable Cruelty 12 rating

The Coen brothers update the acerbic, fast-talking style of the screwball comedy, with George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones as scheming, warring lovers.

Comedy 2003 100 mins

Director: Joel Coen



Romance as sparring match was a classical Hollywood standard; the Coens turn it into a blood sport with this tale of a no-nonsense divorce lawyer (George Clooney) falling for a professional divorcee (Catherine Zeta Jones).

Drawing on vintage zingers including Preston Sturges’ pictures like The Lady Eve, the Coens add a touch of contemporary cynicism (and language that would never have surpassed the Hays code) to the acerbic, fast-talking screwball comedy style first popularised in the 1930s. While, as in O Brother Where Art Thou, Clooney riffs on Cary Grant’s suave yet fallible persona.