According to the Coens the plot will focus on the world of the CIA, physical fitness in Washington, D.C., and internet dating. The film is the brothers' first since the Academy Award winning No Country For Old Men and has been described by Tilda Swinton as "...a kind of monster caper movie. All of us are monsters - like, true monsters. It's ridiculous. It's much lighter than No Country for Old Men."
Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) is a CIA analyst who quits his job at the CIA after being demoted because of his drinking problem. He then decides to write a memoir about his life in the CIA. His wife, Katie Cox (Tilda Swinton), wants to divorce Osbourne and, at the counsel of her divorce lawyer, she copies all his personal financial files off his computer along with his work-in-progress memoirs. This disk eventually finds its way to Hardbodies, a workout gym. Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt), who works at the gym, finds the disc and intends to blackmail Cox with his former employee Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand). George Clooney appears as Treasury agent Harry Pfarrer who is sleeping with Katie, Osbourne's wife.