Producers: David T. Friendly, Marc Turtletaub, Beau St.
Clair, Julie Durk, David Bergstein
Written by: Aline Brosh McKenna, Robert Harling
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Parker Posey, Michael
Sheen, Frances Fisher, Nora Dunn
Y’know how when your trash can is really
full, but you’re too lazy or stubborn to
admit the fact, so you stick your foot into the
can and compact all the trash with your weight,
hoping that you’ll make just enough room
to keep it from overflowing for one more day?
Yeah, it’s kind of like that. Laws Of
Attraction fits in more clichés per
square inch than a made-for-TV movie, which isn’t
surprising considering the production crew. Director
Peter Howitt is a veteran of the TV movie
business, producer David T. Friendly previously
worked on the classic Big Momma’s House
(which should have gone directly to TV),
and writer Aline Brosh McKenna scripted
the all-too-brief sitcom “All American Girl.”
The only surprise in this particular pack of cards
is writer Robert Harling, whose previous
accomplishments include Steel Magnolias
and Soapdish. I’m going to give Harling
the benefit of the doubt and assume he just did
Laws Of Attraction is a romantic comedy
of rather underwhelming proportions. Trite and
predictable, it features two divorce lawyers who
at first hate each other but then realize that
their fierce rivalry is really nothing more than
a playground flirtation. Julianne Moore
plays Audrey Woods, a by-the-book businesswoman
with high aspirations and a killer scarf collection.
Ruffling her perfectly groomed feathers is rival
lawyer Daniel Rafferty (Brosnan), whose
disheveled appearance and unconventional manner
catch her completely off guard. Although Brosnan’s
change of character is rather amusing at first
(the former Bond sports gray hairs and a Dennis-the-Menace
demeanor), it nevertheless falls flat. It’s
just too impossible to imagine Bond picking a
snowball crumb off Moore’s lip and then
eating it like a grooming monkey. Frances Fisher
also rings hollow as Woods’ mother Sarah,
an age-defying socialite who takes the phrase
“young at heart” to a ridiculous extreme.
“Absolutely Fabulous” she is not.
Case after case, Woods and Rafferty battle each
other in what comes to be an infamous New York
rivalry. The climax of this competition occurs
when Rafferty accidentally “steals”
Woods’ high-profile client (Posey)
Serena, spurring Woods to then represent the client’s
lascivious husband, Thorne (Sheen). In
the process of negotiations, both Serena and Thorne
make claims on a castle in Ireland, sending Rafferty
and Woods racing to grill the castle staff over
ownership issues. A slight snag occurs, though,
when the two get sloshed at a local festival and
tie the knot. Such silly lawyers! So now Rafferty
and Woods must pretend to be happily (and deliberately)
married for the duration of the case for fear
of the law community’s ridicule. I wonder
if, during the trial, they’ll actually fall
in love for real? Naaah, things like that never
happen in movies.
Although the film focuses on Moore and Brosnan,
Posey and Sheen were in my opinion the real stars.
As the childish fashion designer and spastic rock
star, their roles are meant to be exaggerated
caricatures (while in Moore and Brosnan the phenomenon
is merely the result of poor writing). A veteran
of Christopher Guest mockumentaries, Posey
brings her charmingly dippy style to the screen
as the beleaguered but less-than-stoic celebrity
wife. Comedy is a change for Sheen, whose previous
roles include The Four Feathers and Underworld.
Nevertheless, he scores big time as a rather lusty
fellow with poor morals and a worse accent. Sheen
and Posey are the only elements that kept this
Titanic afloat—and me in my chair.
This movie just lacks any sincerity. Why is Rafferty
so unflaggingly infatuated with Woods, for example?
Sure, the woman has great hair, but her overall
personality is so cold and lackluster that even
Larry Flynt wouldn’t give her a second
look. The chemistry between the two characters
seems rather forced, and the development of the
relationship is so predictable that it could be
a template for future romantic comedies. That’s
the problem with the whole movie, actually;
instead of presenting a story, Laws Of Attraction
cobbles together stock characters and plot devices
according to a “Romantic Comedies for Dummies”
manual. It’s not a story at all, actually,
but a film-constructed Frankenstein’s monster.
Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.
Itís worth a full-price ticket.
Itís worth a matinee ticket.
Wait for video rental.
Check out the video from the library, if you must.
While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...