movie trailer (apple.com - quicktime)
NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by ruach13. who says... " I may have missed out a couple of frills, but you gotta have some surprises when you watch it. :) The main plot's all here...
The movie opens with Donovan Donaly (Geoffrey Rush) driving back to his expensive home, singing along to the radio. When he gets home, he finds a pool cleaner's van in his driveway and figures out his wife is having an affair. He catches her with a dumb-looking guy, who comes out to face him.
After some conversation and threats, the guys start fighting and Donovan's wife jabs him in the butt with some award (he's a tv producer). As the wife and dumb guy run off, Donovan grabs a gun and shoots at them, and then grabs a Polaroid camera to take photos of his injured butt to use as evidence.
Cut to the credits, after which we see Miles Massey (George Clooney) getting his teeth polished and confirming his appointments for the day. He's a rich, confident, suave divorce attorney.
Donovan's wife has come to see him, and he manages to build an argument out of thin air that wins her a huge divorce settlement even though she's the one at fault and although he has the Polaroids (something Miles gives him credit for).
There is a court scene somewhere around here where Miles and his comic-relief sidekick discuss life goals instead of listening to the prosecutor's argument (Miles wins the case anyway). Miles reveals that despite having accomplished practically everything there is to accomplish, he does not feel fulfilled.
Cut to a scene at night, where a car obviously driven by a drunk person is being tailed to a motel. Gus Petch, a PI who repeats the phrase "nail your ass" ad nauseum, has caught Rex Rexroth (who has a thing for trains) in a compromising situation with a woman who is not his wife.
We see him show this video to Marilyn Rexroth (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who looks supremely pleased. He comments that most wives are upset to find out their husbands have been cheating, but she tells him this is her ticket to wealth, freedom and independence.
Back in Miles' office, where Rex has gone to seek legal counsel, Miles accepts the challenge. When Marilyn and her lawyer come to meet him to negotiate an out of court settlement, Miles smoothtalks his way through and pisses off the lawyer, but is obviously interested in Marilyn.
At night, Miles takes Marilyn out to dinner (there's a great back and forth in question form between them at the restaurant) so Gus Petch can break into her house and photograph her address book. Miles explains to his slightly dim assistant in a hilarious scene that he wants to find her Tenzing Norgay.
There is another scene by a swanky poolside where three of Marilyn's friends (divorced and enriched - literally - by their divorce settlements) warn her that Miles is a very good lawyer.
In fact, in court, Miles manages to produce a witness who testifies that Marilyn asked him to find her a rich dumb guy whom she could marry and rip off. Rex is appalled, and tries to strangle the witness, resulting in the following exchange:
Marilyn's lawyer: Objection! Judge: Grounds? Lawyer: Strangling the witness! Judge: I'll allow it.
Marilyn loses the suit and wanders into an alley where she finds and wakes a now-poor Donovan Donaly and tells him she has an idea for him. Meanwhile Miles is oddly dissatisfied with his victory. He obsesses about her and is thrilled when she comes to see him in his office, but disappointed when she brings along Howard Doyle, an oil tycoon that she's about to marry.
She tells him she wants to sign the Massey prenup - a prenuptial agreement Miles developed that has a semester dedicated to it at Harvard Law School and has never been penetrated - to prove her love and sincerity in her upcoming marriage. Miles is disbelieving, but goes along. As she and her future bethrothed leave, he grabs her for a kiss and calls after her, "You fascinate me!"
At the ship-of-love-themed wedding, Miles grows increasingly despondent until he sees Doyle, in his own act of bravado and love, eat the prenup with bbq sauce. He tries to offer his services to her for the upcoming settlement, but she turns him down.
SIX MONTHS LATER
Miles is about to attend a NOMAN (National Organization of Marriage Attorneys...or something like that) convention in Las Vegas where he is the keynote speaker where who should he see but Marilyn, newly divorced and very rich, with a large poodle in tow.
He propositions her in the elevator, but gets his hand bitten by the poodle and winds up having dinner with her anyway. They have a deep philosophical discussion about not wanting to wind up alone (Marilyn talks about her three-times divorced friend who lives alone with her peptic ulcer and Miles talks about his 87-year-old senior partner who has nothing to live for but work) but part in the hotel hallway with longing looks.
Later, Miles wakes up in shock after a nightmare involving the senior partner, and Marilyn calls him, sobbing that her friend's peptic ulcer perforated and she was dead for two days before her Pilates trainer found her. Miles rushes over and tells her to come with him.
Cut to a wedding chapel. Miles offers to sign the Massey prenup to prove he's not after her money (since the prenup protects the richer person) and after he does, Marilyn rips it up. It's true love in a kilt.
They are married and go back to bed in the hotel, declaring their love and trust. The next morning, at the convention, Miles rips up his speech and delivers a heartfelt message about love and trust conquering cynicism and fear.
He is celebrating at the bar with his assistant, who looks up at a tv on the wall and sees Howard Doyle acting on a soap opera. They realize it was all a con and Marilyn is poor, meaning that without the prenup, she is going to take all of Miles' money.
He rushes back to the room, and finds out it's true, and Marilyn tells him, "the dog is rented." We see him get increasingly anxious as she prepares for the settlement, and his senior partner tells him to take the law into their hands.
Miles and his assistant, on behalf of a fictitious Mr Smith, hire Wheezy Joe, an assassin with asthma, to kill Marilyn. However, that night, Rex, now openly cavorting with several women, has a heart attack and dies, and according to the terms of his will, Marilyn gets it all. That makes her richer than Miles and means he would profit from the suit, so they rush over to try and stop Wheezy Joe from killing Marilyn.
At the house, Marilyn and her Rottweilers have already caught him, and she offers him double if he will kill Miles. Unfortunately, Wheezy Joe manages to confuse his inhaler and his pistol, and kills himself.
In the morning, Miles and Marilyn are once again at the office where they first met, and Miles gives her puppy dog eyes and asks her to trust him and give them another shot. She asks repeatedly how she can trust him, and he offers to sign the prenup again (apparently there is nothing in there to specify that it is only a PREnup). He does, and she tears it up again, her lawyer grabs it, and Miles' assistant chases him to try to retrieve it. They kiss, implicitly pledging undying love, and the movie ends.