Patrick McGinlay's Internet Tendency

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October 24, 2003

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All right another Coen brothers film and this time it's about divorce.

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 particularly spectacular.

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.


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