Breaking all the Laws of Attraction
Akin to your favorite “American Idol” contestant being prematurely knocked out, or a much admired sports star falling off his pedestal in criminal court is seeing two very likable actors trapped in a disappointing film.
While “Laws of Attraction” is not a particularly bad film, it plays like one long teasing set-up with the audience hoping for something, anything that will offer a worthwhile payoff that cashes in on the proven talents of its stars Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore. In this case, keep motioning for a mistrial because it will never happen.
The crime is not in casting the dashing pair as rival attorneys-that’s the easy part. Brosnan is rumpled and relaxed Daniel Rafferty while Moore plays uptight and fragile Audrey Woods. Both are handsome and single, only one of “Laws” unexplained implausibilities. Even worse, though we know the two are destined for each other (a forgone conclusion in these types of lightweight big screen sitcoms) the script never gives us a reason to see why Rafferty would fall for his disagreeable counterpart nor why someone who believes so much in the institution of marriage would have avoided it so intently.
The story is further undermined by not one but two alcohol-induced sex scenes between the feisty couple that aren’t even played for laughs. When the two wake up from the first tryst, adorning homemade wedding bands, they are convinced they must continue the charade for PR reasons. (Another stretch). They continue battling for their opposing clients which takes them to Ireland for more drinking (surprise!) and the only tender scene in the movie which involves the two spending the night lost in an abandoned shack.
Referencing “Laws of Attraction” in the same breath as the Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn films denigrates those classics immensely.
The film is more appropriately compared to last years’ flawed but better executed “Something’s Gotta Give” and “Intolerable Cruelty,” two films that had moments of bristling and compelling dialogue. “Laws” reveals little of its characters or their motivations. Brosnan stills carries a smirky twinkle throughout and few actresses can pull off a verge-of-tears vulnerability better than the luminous Moore.
With talent like that, a sturdy script could carefully peel back the onion to reveal the nature of the characters so we not only care about them, but we believe in their convictions and are fascinated by the plight of their mutual attraction.
“Laws of Attraction” offers no onion, only provoking the tears of fans who had hoped to see two of their favorite actors chew on a script worth devouring.
Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language.