When is a Coen Brothers movie not a Coen Brothers movie?

The Couch Potato Report
This week in The Couch Potato Report there’s a Coen Brothers film that really isn’t a Coen Brothers Film and Meg Ryan wants you to see her naked.
Let’s start off with INTOLERABLE CRUELTY.
Joel and Ethan Coen have made the quirky and interesting films RAISING ARIZONA, O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?, THE HUDSUCKER PROXY and FARGO.
The one thing that each of those films have in common is that you can tell that they are Coen Brothers Movies, and not just because they are quirky and interesting. They are filled with odd characters and unique situations that no other filmmakers could envision, write and then put on film.
INTOLERABLE CRUELTY is the latest film from the Coen brothers, but they didn’t envision it, write it and put it on film all by themselves they way they normally do.
That’s why it’s a Coen Brothers film that just doesn’t feel like a Coen Brothers film.
From time to time there are flashes of Coen, but then its gone.
That doesn’t make INTOLERABLE CRUETY a bad film, its actually pretty good. But if you loved RAISING ARIZONA, O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?, THE HUDSUCKER PROXY or FARGO, don’t expect more of the same.
In the picture George Clooney, from OUT OF SIGHT and OCEAN’S ELEVEN, and Catherine Zeta-Jones – of CHICAGO and TRAFFIC – square off magnificently.
The plot of this divorce comedy is simple: Lawyer supreme Miles Massey skillfully outmaneuvers a gold-digger when she divorces her wealthy husband–and she sets out to get revenge.
The film unfolds quite enjoyably and Clooney and Zeta- Jones look great as a couple. Plus there are great supporting performances from Geoffrey Rush, Cedric the Entertainer, and Billy Bob Thornton, but it just never quite hits the mark the way a Coen Brothers film usually does.
It’s still very funny, though, so I have to recommend it, even to those who loved RAISING ARIZONA, O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?, THE HUDSUCKER PROXY and FARGO.
It might be a Coen Brothers film that’s not quite a Coen Brothers film, but INTOLERABLE CRUELY is still better than 90% of the other films out there.
I suspect that it’s much better than IN THE CUT.
IN THE CUT is the latest film from movie cutie Meg Ryan. I used to count myself among the millions who loved Ryan. She was tremendous in WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, and too many other films to mention.
But when I heard that she was naked in IN THE CUT, I lost all interest in seeing it.
Don’t misunderstand me, I have no problem with nudity in movies, but when I spoke with anyone before, or after they saw IN THE CUT, the only thing anyone had to say was that Meg Ryan was naked. Not one person had anything to say, good or bad, about the movie.
And that turned me off of seeing it. But that’s me.
Just so you know what the movie is about, in case you are interested in seeing it, IN THE CUT is based on Susanna Moore’s popular novel.
The film centers on Frannie (Meg Ryan), an emotionally stifled English teacher who gets steamy with sultry Malloy (Mark Ruffalo from You Can Count On Me), a cop who’s investigating a series of brutal murders–but Frannie soon suspects that Malloy may be the killer.
Sounds good, right? Well, even though I haven’t seen it I can tell you that it is mediocre at best. If it was any good the fact that Ryan is naked in it wouldn’t even matter.
Let me use two recent Halle Berry films to make my point. In MONSTER’S BALL she was very naked, but all anyone spoke about was how good the film was. She was also naked in SWORDFISH and I never heard anyone talk about the movie, just the scene where Halle shows her berries.
So watch IN THE CUT if you think it sounds like you’d enjoy it. And if its actually a really good movie let me know and I’ll watch it.
In case you’re wondering what I watched this week instead of IN THE CUT, well I have the answer. I watched THE LION KING 1 1/2.
This is a direct to video and DVD sequel to THE LION KING that retells the original film’s story from the perspective of best pals Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog.
They were the “Hakuna Matata” singers from the original film.
If you’ve ever wondered how this odd couple met, this movie has all the answers.
The familiar, and still enjoyable story of THE LION KING is reborn from this fresh point of view due to the return of Rafiki the wise monkey, Shenzi, and Simba’s love interest, Nala.
In addition to the vocal talents of Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella as Timon and Pumbaa THE LION KING 1 1/2 also features the voice talents of Matthew Broderick, Julie Kavner, and Jerry Stiller.
It might not be as great as the original LION KING, but it sure is fun. And its fun for the whole family!
INTOLERABLE CRUELTY, IN THE CUT and THE LION KING 1 1/2 are all available right now at a video store near you.
In RUNAWAY JURY a juror on the inside, and a woman on the outside manipulate a court trial involving a major gun manufacturer. John Cusack and Rachel Weisz star in this thriller based on the book by John Grisham.
DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR sees a former child star hires a family to help recreate the childhood he never had. (David Spade, Mary McCormack, Scott Terra)
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here next week on The Couch!