out of Five
Running time: 90
Ambitious romcom that aims for a 1940s screwball vibe but doesn’t quite make it, despite genuine sparks flying between its two leads.
Laws of Attraction is one of those films where the trailer is actually better than the movie it promises. If you’ve seen the trailer in question, you could be forgiven for expecting a snappy, 1940s-style screwball comedy, in which two divorce lawyers who have a love-hate relationship mistakenly get married.
Sadly, the meandering, flabby script doesn’t do the trailer justice and the much-anticipated marriage (which the trailer makes out to be the main ‘hook’ of the film) doesn’t even happen until nearly two thirds of the way through. That said, it’s worth seeing for the chemistry between its two leads.
Hot Shot Divorce Lawyers Come Head To Head
Julianne Moore plays hotshot divorce lawyer Audrey Woods, a neurotic career woman who has never lost a case. When she comes up against shabby, seemingly unprofessional charmer Daniel Rafferty (Pierce Brosnan), the sparks fly, both in and out of the courtroom, particularly when he turns out to be just as hot a shot as she is. However, despite an early night of drunken passion, their relationship remains one of professional rivalry – until a high-profile case sends them both to Ireland and they accidentally wake up married…
Both leads are excellent – Julianne Moore hasn’t had much luck in comedy roles before (Nine Months, Evolution), but she’s both charming and adorable here. Brosnan is also perfectly cast in a role that allows him to exude his particular brand of raffish sex appeal.
The biggest surprise, however, is just how much onscreen chemistry they have together – it’s only a shame that the script isn’t up to the job. (For example, we see a montage of their courtroom battles where more quickfire dialogue would have been welcome).
Mixed Results From Supporting Cast
As for the supporting cast, Frances Fisher is wonderful as Julianne Moore’s surgically-enhanced mother (who gets all the best lines) and Michael Sheen is intermittently funny as a British rock star, despite a deeply clichéd character. However, Parker Posey gives possibly her worst ever performance as Sheen’s wife, screeching and flouncing around until you’re actually willing her off the screen.
The main problem with the film is the pacing – it starts well enough but then it drags horribly until they get married: the film would have been greatly improved if they’d got married in the first 30 minutes and the story had developed from there.
Similarly, with the exception of a few of the early scenes (and all Frances Fisher’s lines), there aren’t that many decent laughs to be had. Not only that, but the ending is also badly handled.
That said, there are a few very good scenes and the two leads are terrific together – their onscreen chemistry is reason enough to see the film, despite its shortcomings.