Laws of Attraction
- Julianne Moore as Audrey Woods
- Pierce Brosnan as Daniel Rafferty
- Michael Sheen as Thorne Jamison
- Parker Posey as Serena Jamison
- Frances Fisher as Sara
This romantic comedy never quite hits the mark that it is going for in trying to emulate classic battle of the sexes movies, but thanks to good chemistry from the leads, Laws of Attraction is at least an entertaining way to pass the time.
Audrey Woods is a successful divorce lawyer in New York who does things by the book and studiously, which pays off as she has never lost a case. That is threatened however by the recent arrival of the irascible Daniel Rafferty, another divorce lawyer who boasts a similar reputation, but different methods. While Audrey is the analytical and slightly prim one, Daniel gets by on luck and charm. They find themselves continually pitted against the other and this is where a sexual tension builds. Audrey, who has all but given up on the dating scene, has no interest in a relationship after seeing so many just wither away. Daniel on the contrary is extremely attracted to her and wants something genuine out of it, much to Audrey’s chagrin. Yet these feelings may go on the back burner when trashy couple of rock star Thorne and designer wife Serena head to the divorce court. Audrey and Daniel continue to clash in and out of the courtroom, especially when they must visit the couple’s castle in Ireland that both of the squabbling parties wants for themselves. Yet after one specific event during an eventful night for Audrey and Daniel, things between them could very well change, even though each is on the opposing side. The gloves are off as battle commences, yet will the undeniable spark that sizzles between them thaw out or ignite into something else?
Peter Howitt and his direction are passable, but not really setting the world ablaze. Regardless, he displays some talent for humour, despite the slim pickings and silliness of some of the content present. Laws of Attraction isn’t what you would call compelling viewing, and yet there are some good points that can be combed from the mess. It amounts to a pleasing diversion if nothing else, but you are left with the feeling that more could have been injected into the film somehow. The script was amiable and had moments of good banter between the feuding lawyers, but it never had that snap of the romantic comedies of old that it was trying to reference. Undeniably, it has a few laughs in there that occasionally hit the mark very well that I simply can’t deny. But judging the overall experience, there is definitely something curiously uneven about Laws of Attraction that drag it down in my estimations. The chemistry of the leads makes up for some of this, raising the film to a watchable level. There is the glossy style of the film that carries a certain kitsch and archaic quality to it, plus the locations of New York and Ireland are quite stunning. The music provided is pleasing to the ear and more than a little playful. And I did enjoy the retro infused title sequence that is one of the better attempts in the film to have an old-fashioned sense of celluloid. But considering there are good elements in Laws of Attraction, one can’t help but feel there is a void there that needed to be filled.
If anything saves Laws of Attraction from being dull and a complete washout, it has to be most of the cast, in particular the romantic leads. Julianne Moore is one of the most versatile actresses out there and here she shows a whole new different side. Vastly sailing above the by the numbers material, she displays some deft skill at comedy by playing career woman Audrey with a neurotic humour and heart. The tough outer steel of the character is a mask that slips to reveal insecurity and a want for love, all of which is embodied with ease by Moore. She really made me laugh in parts of this film with her quick talking antics and smart yet desperate yearning. It’s hats off to the delightful Julianne Moore in another great performance. Pierce Brosnan plays the rakish sparring partner and love interest. Portraying suave and smooth is nothing groundbreaking for him, but as it is his strong suit, he uses it well in the part. The same can’t be said of Michael Sheen and Parker Posey, who are basically thrown into the mix as a plot device and nothing else. I respect and enjoy watching both actors normally, but the sheer lack of any decipherable role is unfortunate for both of them. The film could have at least called for them to do more as the trashy couple going through the acrimonious divorce. Frances Fisher is the best in the supporting cast. As the Botox-loving, cocktail swigging mother of Audrey, she registers the most laughs in her attempts to be young again through any means possible. Whenever she is on screen, Fisher is a comic delight to be enjoyed.
It never ever reaches full potential and more than often feels rushed, though the acting is fine from Brosnan and Moore. I just wanted something more out of Laws of Attraction, which winds up with me seeing it as a mixed movie.