Intolerable Cruelty

October 10th, 2003


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Still of George Clooney, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen in Intolerable CrueltyStill of George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Intolerable CrueltyCatherine Zeta-Jones at event of Intolerable CrueltyStill of George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Intolerable CrueltyStill of George Clooney in Intolerable CrueltyStill of George Clooney, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Intolerable Cruelty

A revenge-seeking gold digger marries a womanizing Beverly Hills lawyer with the intention of making a killing in the divorce.

Release Year: 2003

Rating: 6.3/10 (46,008 voted)

Critic's Score: 71/100

Director: Joel Coen

Stars: George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Billy Bob Thornton

Miles Massey, a prominent Los Angeles divorce attorney has everything--and in some cases, two of everything. Despite his impressive client list, a formidable win record, the respect of his peers and an ironclad contract (the Massey pre-nup) named after him, he's reached a crossroads in his life. Sated on success, boredom has set in and he's looking for new challenges. All that changes when Miles meets his match in the devastating Marylin Rexroth. Marylin is the soon-to-be ex-wife of his client Rex Rexroth, a wealthy real estate developer and habitual philanderer. With the help of hard charging private investigator Gus Petch, she has Rex nailed and is looking forward to the financial independence a successful divorce will bring. But thanks to Miles' considerable skills, she ends up with nothing. Not to be outdone, Marylin schemes to get even and as part of her plan, quickly marries oil tycoon Howard Doyle...

Writers: Robert Ramsey, Matthew Stone

George Clooney - Miles
Catherine Zeta-Jones - Marylin
Geoffrey Rush - Donovan Donaly
Cedric the Entertainer - Gus Petch
Edward Herrmann - Rex Rexroth
Paul Adelstein - Wrigley
Richard Jenkins - Freddy Bender
Billy Bob Thornton - Howard D. Doyle
Julia Duffy - Sarah Sorkin
Jonathan Hadary - Heinz, the Baron Krauss von Espy
Tom Aldredge - Herb Myerson
Stacey Travis - Bonnie Donaly
Jack Kyle - Ollie Olerud
Irwin Keyes - Wheezy Joe
Judith Drake - Mrs. Gutman

Taglines: A romantic comedy with bite.


Official Website: Official Site | U.I.P. France [France] |

Release Date: 10 October 2003

Filming Locations: Caesars Palace - 3570 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $60,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $12,525,075 (USA) (12 October 2003) (2564 Screens)

Gross: $119,940,815 (Worldwide) (25 April 2004)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

A line from Herb's speech to Miles is inspired by the Gettysburg Address. Abraham Lincoln said "testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure." Herb said, "This firm cannot prosper... nor long endure..."

Anachronisms: When Miles awaits the senior partner, he picks up the March-April, 2004 issue of the spoof magazine "Living Without Intestines", but the film takes place in 2003.

[first lines]
Donovan Donaly: [singing] I'm just a poor boy, though my story's seldom told.

User Review

Not intolerable, but…


George Clooney stars as a self-loving whiter than white toothed lawyer who is becoming bored with his never-ending success. A challenge comes in the shapely form of Marilyn Rexroth (Catherine Zeta Jones) who wants to marry (or preferably divorce) her way to riches. With Clooney hired to represent her soon to be ex husband, he inevitably falls for the gold diggers charms.

Directed by the Coen brothers, a directorial team who have helmed oddball comedies such as 'Fargo' and 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' this is the team's first branch in to a high profile Hollywood film. Clooney, as the sharp suited lawyer, is excellent. Like Cary Grant or David Niven, Clooney is able to mock himself without compensating his screen appeal. Catherine Zeta Jones as the money hungry Marilyn is as sexy as her character demands from the scripted page. However, despite the quick fire dialogue, Intolerable Cruelty is simply not as funny as it thinks, it's cynical message of love and money taking away the romantic push it needs to place it in the league of the Tracy/Hepburn films the movie aspires to. Clooney's character also suffers from an over enthusiastic plot that later drives his character to attempt to commit a crime that totally contradicts the audiences perception of him. A battle of the sexes comedy that has sex appeal but no romance, Intolerable Cruelty is a film that reaches for the golden age of Hollywood but only touches the bronze.