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Laws of Attraction

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Laws of Attraction

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore
Director: Peter Howitt
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: April 2004
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Parker Posey, Michael Sheen, Mina Badie, Peter Ballance, Elva Crowley, Nora Dunn, Mike Doyle, Frances Fisher, Vincent Marzello, Brendan Morrissey

Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

Remember the sparkle of fun when Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy sparred in cinematic combat? That's what this comedy was supposed to be like. Unfortunately, it isn't.

Intelligent but insecure Audrey Woods (Julianne Moore) is a top-notch Manhattan divorce attorney who has never lost a big case until she meets up with disheveled Daniel Rafferty (Pierce Brosnan) who outsmarts her. On the next divorce, she bests him. Sparks fly 'till they get drunk and wind up in bed. While negotiating on behalf of their clients, a philandering British rock star (Michael Sheen) and his shrill fashion-designer wife (Parker Posey), they have a boozy interlude in Ireland, where they impulsively get married. Still, they're rivals - and she's perpetually angry.

Problem is: the fizzle quickly goes flat. Why? Working off a shallow screenplay by Aline Brosh McKenna and Robert Harling, director Peter Howitt seems desperate for the witty, amusing dialogue that's absent, yet essential in a screwball comedy. So he goes for slapstick, pushing his supporting players over-the-top. Without a workable, believable character, Julianne Moore ("Far From Heaven," "The Hours"), flounders, lacking the manipulative edginess that her role requires. That leaves roguish Pierce Brosnan (a.k.a. James Bond) with a sugary confection, like a Snowball, to play off. He gamely banters but there's no return. And these are supposed to be intelligent, insightful, interesting people! Instead, caustic Frances Fisher ("House of Sand and Fog") shamelessly steals scenes as Moore's fun-loving, youth-addicted mother. (Although off-screen, Fisher's only eight years older than Moore.) On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Laws of Attraction" is a lame, faltering 5. It's a romantic comedy that's just not funny.

Copyright 2004 Susan Granger

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