George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton
Osbourne: You’re the guy at the gym when I asked about that moronic woman.
Ted: She’s not a moron.
Osbourne: You’re in league with that moronic woman! You’re part of a league of morons!
Gym employees Linda (McDormand) and Chad (Pitt) discover a disc which seemingly contains top secret government files and attempt to blackmail the former agent, Osbourne Cox (Malkovich), who they believe lost the files. Meanwhile, the married Harry Pfarrer (Clooney) is having affairs with Linda and Cox’s wife, Katie (Swinton). There are more complications, but I won’t bother to go into them.
I have a feeling that this is one of those stories that looked really good and clever on paper but didn’t quite translate so well to film. Though, I must admit that I sort of enjoyed it.
This was my second time seeing it, and my reaction was the same both times. I like the actors involved, it’s short and easy to watch, and I laughed several times throughout. The brief appearances by J.K. Simmons are some of my favorite moments. He’s always dependable.
I also like how the Coen Brothers tend to add such drama and seriousness to smaller stories about random people. It’s similar to Fargo in that regard, but not as a good a movie.
The problem here is that the movie gets a little too convoluted and plot-heavy for its own good. There are multiple affairs going on, every character seems to have somebody trailing them for one reason or another, and the blackmail story line wears out its welcome pretty fast. Though, I do like that the reason Linda is so adamant about making it work is that she needs money for a bunch of body improving surgeries. Essentially, her self-image issues lead to the deaths of quite a few people.
As I mentioned before, it’s an easy movie to watch, even if it’s not one of the Coens’ best. I think it should have just eased up on all the plot developments and slowed down and appreciated itself a little bit.
Learn to be okay with yourself…lives may depend on it.
10 – 2 for the complicated/convoluted plot – .4 for a couple characters that weren’t so great – .6 for fizzling out at the end a little = 7.0