Weak Coens is still good Coens

The Coen brothers and George Clooney reunite (after O Brother, Where Art Thou?) for this funny enough riff on divorce and all the evils associated with it. Clooney plays Miles Massey, world-renowned divorce attorney who has created a prenuptial agreement so impenetrable Harvard Law spends an entire semester studying it. When Marilyn Rexroth (Catherine Zeta Jones) finds herself completely shut out of her husband’s assets after a divorce proceeding, thanks to the scrupulous Massey, she sets out to turn the tables and ruin the man who left her penniless. The Coens are treading in material that has been done to death and feels a bit dated (the project was passed around Hollywood for many years), but their incredible filmmaking style, along with terrific camerawork by Roger Deakins, makes it worthwhile. Clooney clearly has the time of his life working with the Coens; his work in both of their team-ups is his strongest and most confident as a film actor. Keep an eye out for The Ladykillers in March, which has the Coens teaming with Tom Hanks!

Special Features: The Coens (with the exception of the decent Special Edition Fargo) are notorious for DVDs that don’t offer much along the lines of special features. This one has no commentary (the Coens have never done one for DVD) and sparse additional curios. A “director approved” outtake reel has a few funny moments of Clooney clowning around on the set, and a seemingly endless segment called “Rex Rexroth’s Home Movie” that shows a continuous loop of stock black-and-white train footage (Rexroth uses trains for sexual stimulation in the film). It’s a general rule of thumb: You don’t buy Coen DVDs for the special features, you buy them for the film.

Movie: B

Special Features: C-

Geek Factor: 6