Laws of Attraction
2004, PG-13, 90 min. Directed by Peter Howitt. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Parker Posey, Michael Sheen, Frances Fisher, Nora Dunn.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., April 30, 2004
Laws of Attraction: Cute title for a movie about married divorce lawyers arguing opposite sides of a case. And who could argue with casting of humanized Bond pinup Pierce Brosnan and consummate actor Julianne Moore? They look so good together. The only problem is that there's no attraction in Laws of Attraction. That's another way of saying "no chemistry." It's also a gentler way of saying that Laws of Attraction is no Adam's Rib, the courtroom classic starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as married but sparring attorneys. This script by Aline Brosh McKenna and Robert Harling has little of the wit and sparkle of Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin’s Adam’s Rib script, nor do its stars bicker and battle as believably as Hollywood’s legendary on and offscreen couple. The two legal eagles in Laws of Attraction are not helped by a script that renders the things unrealistically, both in terms of the characters’ development and the legal system. Moore’s Audrey Woods, who is one of New York City’s top divorce lawyers, utterly loses her professional decorum as the war between the sexes heats up. Brosnan’s Daniel Rafferty is a shell of a character, a raffish maverick in the courtroom but a smitten lover in the bedroom. The more sincere Daniel becomes, the more ditzy Audrey becomes. Then they’re sent by the judge on a totally improbable excursion to an Irish castle in order to depose incidental characters. And, of course, you know what a touch of the Irish does to Hollywood movies – it’s all picturesque blarney from that point on. The secondary characters all have fun with their parts: Fisher as the appearance-conscious and often married mother of Audrey, and Parker Posey and Michael Sheen as the divorcing couple (and owners of the Irish castle). Posey and Sheen appear to have a blast playing oversized characters so obnoxious that it’s obvious they belong together. Hardly a timeless romance, Laws of Attraction is likely to be dismissed by the ultimate judges.