|Laws of Attraction
2004 - PG-13 - 90 Mins.
|Director: Peter Howitt
|Producer: David T. Friendly, Marc Turtletaub, David Bergstein
|Written By: Karey Kirkpatrick, Aline Brosh McKenna, Robert Harling, David T. Friendly
|Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Frances Fisher, Nora Dunn, Brette Taylor, Parker Posey
|Review by: Joe Rickey
Dry and uninterestingly formulaic, ‘Laws of Attraction’ attempts to coast on the supposed chemistry between Julianne Moore and Pierce Brosnan; hoping that they can cancel out the bland material given to them in this romantic comedy about two divorce attorneys who find themselves engaged after a night of drinking. Figuring that it might hurt their careers to tell others what actually happened, they decide to establish a front as a happily married couple. Such a plotline has potential for some witty comedy, but ‘Laws of Attraction’ instead goes the routine route and, as a result, is bland and imminently forgettable as these films come.
What a bore!
The big problem with ‘Laws of Attraction’ is that it seems to be the equivalent of a big-screen sitcom; something that if it didn’t star the current James Bond and an acclaimed actress, would be airing on CBS as one of those cheesy Sunday night movies. The cast gives it their all; with both Brosnan and Moore going as far as to embarrass themselves in the name of comedy and supporting performer Frances Fisher frequently going completely over-the-top in vain attempts to get laughter out of a script so predictable no actor could do much to help things.
Director Peter Howitt, who previously helmed the sleek techno-thriller ‘Antitrust’ along with the repugnant ‘Johnny English’ seems to be channeling more of his directorial choices leftover from the latter film as just like that “comedy”, this film has a dreadfully dull pace to it. He simply fails to hold our interest for more than a few moments at a time, the once in a blue moon scenes where the film comes alive purely because of the charisma of the actors. Since the plot is utterly guessable by the majority of the viewing audience, the only thing to hold our interest is the writing; in this case, a rather pathetic script that aspires to be an old-fashioned 'Battle of the Sexes’ tale, but comes across more like a half-hearted attempt on the part of the filmmakers as they try, fail to get by with giving as little effort as is possible. Such an idea could have made for a film full of consistently funny one-liners and characters we actually grow to care about, but this film definitely is not the next ‘When Harry Met Sally’ or ‘Adam’s Rib.’ The editing is slacking; the production design is bland; befitting of what is a bland production as a whole.
It might seem tempting to say that ‘Laws of Attraction’ tries and fails at being an old-fashioned take on an age-old debate, but that would be a misnomer. Why? One gets the perception that those behind ‘Laws of Attraction’, with the exception of the two leads who do admittedly give it their all while the filmmaking team sat back and lounged instead of concentrating on actually making a good romantic comedy. As a result, the film is destined for at best a middling run at the box office and maybe some sort of success on DVD/video from people expecting more because of the cast assembled.