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BY JACOB ZHIVOV,
& DAVID BLUMENSTEIN
October 24, 2003
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All right another Coen brothers film and this time it's
Miles Massey (George Clooney), 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 (Catherine
Zeta Jones). 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 (Cedric the
Entertainer), 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.
The Coen brothers, in my opinion, cannot do a bad film.
This film was clever, funny and even cute. Although, this is the first
film they have done which wasn't completely written by them, this
film is very much like their previous films. Despite this, the film
is very Coen brothers, with their traditional group of quirky characters
who quote poetry and the crazy world they live in.
From the start, you are brought into this world with
a great scene from Geoffrey Rush and then the pace just doesn't stop.
The tag line for this film is "A romantic comedy with bite"
and indeed it is a very funny and an excellent film.
I've been a fan of Chris Rock for a while now, since
he first came to my attention with his stand-up, especially the routine
for his solution to people being shot in drive-by shootings (If bullets
cost $5000 each, there'd be no more innocent bystanders).
His first major movie appearance was as Murtaugh's son-in-law
in Lethal Weapon 4, an amusing part at best. However, his recent movie
outings, including "Down to Earth" and "Pootie Tang"
have not been all they could've been.
So it was with high hopes that I went into "Head
of State". Rock, as Mays Gilliam, and co-starring Bernie Mac
(of Charlies Angels II fame) as his brother Mitch, and... errr...
a host of nobodies (the opening credits boast Jesse Jackson, Bob Dole
and Hillary Clinton amongst others as "not appearing in this
film"), "Head of State" had its moments, but nothing
However simple the plot may have been (Democrat Presidential
candidate dies during campaign, replaced by loser destined not to
win, in order to shore up support for party heavyweight for next campaign),
there were a number of amusing one liners that did send me into fits
of laughter at some points. Apparently, the job of the Head of Internal
Liaisons is to sleep with the candidate. A little known fact is that
nowadays, to avoid more embarrassing sexual indiscretions, both parties
have teams of "super-whores".
The film does have tedious moments, including the running
gag involving Mays' ex-fiance, and a particularly strong "we
love America" sentiment that is beginning to really grate my
nerves in all aspects of life. Typically, Mays wins, gets the girl,
and delivers the better of the patriotic speeches I've heard, including
the line "If America was a woman, it'd be a big tittie woman.
Everyone loves a big tittie woman".
In this particular speech, he delivers another few lines
which make me now question whether there was a serious point to this
film, or at least one that Rock (also scriptwriter) is trying to get
across: "If having no experience upsetting other countries so
we need a $5 billion defence budget makes me an amateur, then I guess
I'm an amateur". It's just a shame he's so blase about being
an amateur at making decent movies...
2/5. Mildly entertaining, nothing to rush out for. Wait
for video, or better yet, free to air.
For a first time director, Chris Rock has provided us
with a pretty funny film. In a time where the American Presidency
is treated as a joke, why not have a film about a good guy who gets
picked to run for president as a political stunt.
The real comedy of this film is when Mays decides to
throw away the party machine and run his campaign his way. Bernie
Mac is really funny as Mays older brother and some of the best bits
of the film are from him.
When you want a film where all you want to is laugh
go see this one.
It's not laugh-a-minute, but there's a few good lines
(see "big titty woman" line above), and the whole thing
has a nicely absurd feel thanks to writer/director Rock. The film
feels a lot like CB4, actually, but it's not as vicious, which is
a bad thing. There's too many King Ralph/Dave-style poignant bits
for me (I like King Ralph and Dave plenty, but I hoped for some actual
political satire from Mr. Chris Rock Goes To Washington And Mayhaps
Busts A Cap In Fat Whitey Ass. Was I wrong?).
INTOLERABLE CRUELTY stars George Clooney, Catherine
Zeta-Jones, Geoffrey Rush, Cedric the Entertainer, Edward Herrmann,
Paul Adelstein, Richard Jenkins and Billy Bob Thornton. Rated M, runs
100 mins. Opened yesterday.
HEAD OF STATE stars Chris Rock, Bernie Mac and a host
of nobodies. Aw, that's a bit harsh really. The supporting characters
all do their jobs well, especially the villainous senator played by
James Rebhorn. Stephanie March is hot, but not especially convincing
as Nikki the super-whore. HEAD OF STATE is rated M, is 95 minutes
long, and also opened yesterday.