October 17, 2003

So So From the Coens

cruelty.jpgThere's a few age old adages in the realm of movie watching, worthy of embrodery on a sampler some where. "Even a mediocre evening with the Coen brothers is better than most evenings with others." This is what Cinecultist kept thinking last night as we headed home from an after work viewing of the boys' newest, Intolerable Cruelty.

Many critics have mentioned the cynical and heartless nature of the Coen's work, and no one's been too pleased with this recent reworking of the screwball comedy genre. CC felt that at times, it wasn't nearly slick or caustic enough. (Perhaps the influence of Mr. Feelgood producer, Brian Grazer?) Screwball comedy is a comedy of extremes, such as in Bringing Up Baby where the ditziest millionaress meets the geekest scientest ever, they spar, etc etc.. CZJ's character Marilyn at times seemed too human, not cynical and calculating enough. She should've been harder than nails, not just as hard as. We liked the Cloon as per usual, even the blinding white teeth bit, but his character needed more periphery story. Has Miles Massey ever been involved with anyone romantically, besides that weepy lawyer sidekick of his? But even in all of this not-quite-rightness of the characters, there are some Coen classic walk-on roles. In particular we lurved Weezy Joe the hitman who needs that inhailer and the decrept senior partner Herb, who's the scariest thing CC seen on celluloid since we don't know when.

Sure, it would be easy to get mad at the Coens for not making a perfect movie when we know they're capable of it (ahem, Blood Simple). CC can think of a bunch of even okay other features by them that we love much more than this one. But don't write the film off entirely, it still has some cackle-outloud bits worth experiencing.

Posted by karen at October 17, 2003 8:02 AM