Laws of Attraction (2004) / Comedy-Romance

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sexual content and language
Running Time: 87 min.

Cast: Julianne Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Frances Fisher, Parker Posey, Michael Sheen, Nora Dunn
Director:
Peter Howitt
Screenplay: Aline Brosh McKenna, Robert Harling
Review published August 28, 2004

This is pretty much a generic romantic comedy where the two would-be love interests find themselves on opposite ends of competing interests.  In many ways, Laws of Attraction suffers from following too closely on the heels of the Coen Brothers' Intolerable Cruelty, and also not being nearly as funny.  Like many similar films, it's difficult to dislike, especially when the leads are so ingratiating in their performances, but the material lets them all down.  While the actors, scenery and settings are all easy to look at and enjoy for the duration, at no time are we ever really engaged by the routine storyline.  It's vacuous entertainment -- consumed easily and disposed of without much remembrance.

Pierce Brosnan (The Thomas Crown Affair, Die Another Day) and Julianne Moore (Magnolia, Hannibal) star as New York's finest divorce attorneys, one of whom will be faced with losing a case for the first time when they find themselves on opposing sides.  The competition is fierce, and the two don't see eye-to-eye, but underneath there is a definite chemistry.  Through a series of circumstances, the two keep running into each other outside of the courtroom, and some of their escapades force the two together in ways they'd rather not.

At 87 minutes, it's not a particularly tedious watch, but neither is it really worthwhile enough to recommend.  The real problem here is the lack of genuinely funny moments, with even the usual witty banter you'd expect to be here largely absent.  Some of this has to do with the casting of two leads that aren't playing to their strengths here, as neither of them are known for quality comedic work.  Peter Howitt's (Sliding Doors, Antitrust) direction lacks sparkle, content to force the players into contrived situations and uninspired repartee without much distinction. 

In short, it's a benign but boring experience, made strictly for big fans of the leads or those who watch every romantic comedy out there.  If you don't fall into either category, stay away, as these Laws run strictly by-the-book.

Qwipster's rating:

2004 Vince Leo