Sunday, March 4, 2012

Divorce and Custody Movie Review - Intolerable Cruelty

Today I review Intolerable Cruelty from my collection of divorce, child custody and child support related movies.

Intolerable Cruelty [2003] - The Coen Brothers give a tour de force in this over-the-top portrayal of the divorce industry and divorce profiteers. They bring this tumultuous affair to light in their unique comedic style that could not have been played better by any couple other than George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The film opens with Geoffrey Rush arriving home to find that his wife is having sexual relations with the pool cleaner. Oddly enough the home doesn't have a pool. Gunfire erupts and the collection of litigation based evidence begins. Cut to George Clooney, the divorce attorney, advising his assistant to prepare documentation alleging that an opposing party has violated a court order by taking a cruise around Lake Tahoe -- which is divided by the state line -- thus leaving the state with the child. So sets the stage for how the divorce scenarios will be played.

Clooney then meets with the cavorting wife and postulates his grand interpretation of the marital infidelity which assesses blame on, naturally, the husband. Challenged by her he claims not to be omniscient but just establishing "a map of enemy territory so to speak".

The film then introduces a courtroom scene followed by a motel encounter involving different parties. Both of which involve surreptitiously gained evidence, the latter by Cedric the Entertainer who plays an unabashed private investigator with a flair for exposing fornicators with a spotlight adorned video camera.

Break to Clooney meeting with the unfaithful husband of the main marital spat of the film. The opposing party, Catherine Zeta-Jones, is then poolside with her girl friends discussing various divorces and the financial benefits. She and Clooney -- smitten by her at an earlier settlement negotiation -- then meet for dinner where she elucidates her motive stating that "this divorce means money, money means independence". Predictably the film is going to unravel into the exploits of the case and Clooney's pursuit of Jones but does so in a way that keep the viewer glued to the screen.

Trial scenes are aptly played in a realistic manner with interjections of trademark Coen Brothers absurdities that capture the feeling of the proceeding. Ultimately Jones, revealed for the gold-digger she is, gets left high and dry. While the undesirable results are discussed with her hardened girl friends one admits to her longing for an intimate relationship but relays her reluctance in stating "getting laid is financial Russian Roulette". Jones retorts, "I am going to get married again and nail his ass good".

On the scene finally appears Billy Bob Thornton, the Texas oil tycoon, who appears with Jones at Clooney's office to execute a prenuptial marital agreement. The particular agreement, crafted by Clooney, which is known in the industry as being impenetrable. Thus Thornton's money would be untouchable by Jones in the event of a divorce.

Thornton eats the prenuptial agreements at the wedding. She and Clooney discuss the predictable scenario to follow. This time Jones makes off with a fortune but it later is revealed that she appears to have been hoodwinked. She and Clooney marry and again the prenuptial agreement is destroyed. Jones' fortune is now open for the taking by the crafty attorney Clooney.

But not is all as it appears. Clooney, the keynote speaker at a divorce industry seminar in Las Vegas, reveals that he is a changed man. His cut-throat pursuit of courtroom victory seems to have been tempered by Jones. Somehow a murder-for-hire scheme develops from their relationship and the film culminates in a surprise ending reminiscent of film noir.

This entertaining comedic romp is a must see for anyone who has or is going through a divorce. Every scene brings forth the elements of truth about the divorce industry and provides much needed levity for those parties who have directly suffered from it.

If there is a movie that you would like reviewed please send a request to me. The complete list of movies I have reviewed may be viewed here.

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More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.

©2012 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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