Coen Bros., but you knew that already. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Mr. Clooney, you knew that too.

Story cowrite to Matthew Stone, you may NOT have known that.

Here’s IMDB on it.

My take? Clooney’s as goofily fun as he was in O Brother, but the sense of inevitability – the structure of tragedy in the service of comedy – that makes the best Coen Bros. pieces fly was softened in this one, as with certain other of their work – Raising Arizona, the most-recent Man Who Wasn’t There, and of course that bowling flick (which certain friends refuse to acknowledge as the masterwork it, in fact, is) – what have you.

I was most strongly reminded, though, of Blood Simple. What of critical allegations that the Coens have once again turned out a film devoid of sympathy for their main characters? Well, um, yep, and thank god – it always makes the films better, I think.

It’s a pretty bleak film on matters of the heart – will Ken’s new allegiance lead him to endorse or deny it?

(On the way home we swung through Twice Sold, where Jamie was holding book-buying court, and I left with hardbacks of Bill Vollmann’s The Rifles and Fathers and Crows as well as a 1997 bio of Mark Twain, which will be helpful as I puzzle over the proper reading order of all that Palm Pilot stuff. A review, another [NYT, but not charge-wrapped yet], and yet another.)

(Which reminds me: I need to write a letter to another author.)