Laws Of Attraction


Directed by: Peter Howitt
Written by:Aline Brosh McKenna, Robert Harling
Starring: Julianne Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Sheen, Parker Posey, Frances Fisher, Nora Dunn
Released: July 22, 2004
Grade: B-

Laws Of Attraction pairs one of my favourite actresses, Julianne Moore, and the very suave Pierce Brosnan.  Moore plays Audrey Woods, a divorce lawyer who never loses a case.  Sure she works long hours and she hasn’t had a relationship in years but Audrey likes her life – she’s the best New York City has to offer.  Her mother Sara (Fisher) doesn’t share the same viewpoint.  She wants Audrey to find a man.

Enter Mr. Daniel Rafferty (Brosnan), another divorce attorney who has just returned to the Big Apple after a stint on the West Coast.  He too never loses a big case and sure enough, he defeats Audrey at their first head-to-head encounter.  A rivalry ensues and if you catch the drift, an interesting romance develops.

Moore and Brosnan are simply great at delivering lines.  They use a little improvisation, throw in some perfect facial expressions, and have an impeccable sense of timing.  Unfortunately for them, the whole screenplay has the feel of a clichéd play.  It tries to be too cute and witty with the biggest slap in the face coming in the final half hour when it all degenerates into a very predictable, much overused ending.  A few more surprises and twists were need to hold my attention.  On comparison, the film reminds me of last year’s Down With Love with Ewan McGregor and Renee Zellweger.  I found Love showed more flair with Laws getting too bogged down in its limited story

The whole show has been directed by Englishman Peter Howitt who is most famous for Sliding Doors, another romantic tale I found dreary.  I’ll lay most of the blame though on screenwriters Aline McKenna (Three To Tango) and Robert Harling (Steel Magnolias).  After 30 minutes, the novelty wears out and the only reason to remain in the theatre is to watch Julianne Moore and Pierce Brosnan do their best to keep the film together.

I’m not sure what the “laws of attraction” are but in the “laws of movies”, there are just too many broken here to go unpunished.