Wednesday, January 2, 2013
(October 2003, U.S.)
Let me just get this out of the way right now - Catherine Zeta-Jones is (or WAS, at least), in my male hormonal opinion, the most incredibly smoking hot woman of Hollywood that I've ever seen in my entire young adult life (there, I said it!). To watch her on screen in any of the number of films she did in the beginning of the 21st Century is to sit there with your mouth gaping wide open and think, "Damn, she's just amazing!" Even though I don't consider ENTRAPMENT (1999) such a great film, it's the one I enjoy the most when it comes to just watching HER (and her body!)!
So, that having been said, let's move onto the Cohen Brothers' INTOLERABLE CRUELTY, the subject of divorce and (apparently) why it's so damn funny. I have this belief that the more outrageously ridiculous and unbelievable a film story is, the more likely that's it's based on some sort of true account of real life people. Back when I first saw WAR OF THE ROSES (1989), I had no reason to think that such a story of a married couple with such psychotic hatred toward each other could ever be more than incredible fiction. Then I started hearing TV commercials for stupid talk shows featuring "real life War of the Roses". And so, when you accept the concept that ANYTHING in life is possible, the over-the-top premises of love, infidelity, divorce and divorce lawyers are more than likely and humanily (or INhumanly) possible by real people, and it can all be very funny.
George Clooney plays divorce attorney Miles Massey in a role that he's clearly having a lot of fun with, particularly with his obssession over his newly-whitened teeth. Massey is charming, seductive, deceptive and the crazy equivalent of a cheap, ambulance-chasing personal injury lawyer or even a sleazy used car saleman. Divorce, by his profession, is a game of wits where the ultimate winner is determined by who gets more of the other person's shit in the end. From the moment he meets his client's gold-digging-soon-to-be-ex-wife Marylin Rexroth (played by Zeta-Jones), he clearly knows that it's his job to take her down without mercy. But, hello, we're talking about Catherine Zeta-Jones here, and it's impossible not to be attracted to her with lust and desire. Professional etiquette and decency says he can't persue her until the ink on her divorce is dry, which, by the way, will leave her twisting in the wind with nothing when Miles is done with her. In the end, love between them will triumph, but it's impossible to care about such film cliche when all else around them is hilariously coming apart.
From the point of view of this film, divorce is absolutely nothing civilized or human between two estranged people. It's a cut throat game of wits in which each person is trying to "nail the other person's ass"! But then again, if the subject of divorce were a more serious and dramatic subject a-la KRAMER VS. KRAMER here, then we wouldn't have the silly Cohen Brothers comedy that we have here, would we? What's more, this is CALIFORNIA divorce we're dealing with, where the people are richer, the women are more spoiled rotten and where the process of divorce can realistically take as long as ten years, I understand.
Well, if I can personal for a moment (and I often DO!), my parents were divorced in 1975 when I was just eight years-old...and I was RELIEVED over it! Yes, people, how many eight year-old children do you know who are relieved when their parents get divorced?? You see, according to my tiny little mind at the time, the only thing I could really wrap my head around was the fact that the ongoing fighting between them would now be coming to an end. That was the idea, anyway. I would soon come to learn that the anger, the bitterness and the vindictiveness would continue through the legal and courtroom appearances. The real punchline of ita ll, however, was that after all the crap of their divorce, they were foolish enough to get back together and try again just two short years later. Ain't life just too funny??
Favorite line or dialogue:
Miles Massey: "Were there any other specifications?"
Heinz, the Baron Krauss von Espy (in an outrageous French accent): "She spe-cif-i-cated a silly man."
Freddy Bender: "Objection, Your Honor!"
Judge Marva Munson: "I'm going to allow it."
Heinz: "She spe-cif-i-cated a man who, though clever at making money, would be easily duped and controlled."
Freddy: "Objection, Your Honor!"
Miles: "Shut up, Freddy! She's allowing it!"
Heinz: "She spe-cif-i-cated a man with a wandering pee-pee. How you say? A philanderer whose affairs would be transparent to the world."
Freddy: "Objection, Your Honor!"
Heinz: "Finally, a man whom she could herself brazenly cuckold until such time as she might choose to, uh - we would say, "faire un coup de marteau sur des fesses." You would say, "make hammer on his fanny."
Freddy: "Your Honor, objection! Irrelevant!"
Judge: "I'm going to allow it!"
Miles: "Tell us, Baron, did you introduce her to such a man?"
Heinz: "Sir, I am the concierge!"
Miles: "And to whom did you introduce that calculating woman?"
Heinz: "I introduced her...(points to Rex Rexroth)...to that silly man!"
Freddy: "Your Honor, objection!"
Miles: "Let the record show that the Baron has identified Rex Rexroth as the silly man!"
Now, I've never done this before on any of my other blogs, but I just have to put this down as a very close second because I laugh my ass off when I hear this...
Marge the waitress: "You want a salad?"
Wrigley: "Yeah. Do you have a GREEN salad?"
Marge: "What the fuck color would it be??"