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LAWS OF ATTRACTION
U.S. Release Date: April 30, 2004
Distributor: New Line
Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna
Producer: Mark Gordon (executive), Bob Yari (executive)
Composer: Ed Shearmur
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Michael Sheen, Parker Posey
Running Time: 1 hour and 27 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content and language)

Love's Mistrial
by Sean Saulsbury

One might expect intelligent situational humor with wit and sophistication from a romantic comedy about two successful attorneys at odds with each other professionally. What Laws of Attraction offers instead is childish bickering and shock-value humor that tells us nothing about romance or attraction.

Julianne Moore plays Audrey, a high profile divorce attorney who has sworn off marriage—her career has turned her sour to the idea. Daniel, played by Pierce Brosnan, is supposed to be one of the best lawyers in the divorce business, though he is much more optimistic when it comes to matrimony. Their characters dress well and look physically attractive. Maybe that's supposed to be one of the laws of attraction?

Unfortunately they don't look good for long. Any romantic comedy requires you first to like the characters before you hope that they end up together, and Laws of Attraction manages to do the opposite. Brosnan is the movie's best shot, though, and his character tries to be playful and amusing.

But it doesn't work. When Daniel and Audrey meet for the first time—in a professional, courtroom setting—Daniel "flirts" by wiping a crumb from Audrey's face, tasting it and guessing what kind of food it is. This kind of humor is repeated throughout the movie so maybe being disgusting is supposed to be one of the laws of attraction?

Structurally, the story has some major problems too. This is about two people at odds who, after an evening of insobriety, find themselves married the next morning and have to deal with the repercussions. But by the time we get to the setup we're already into the couple's second case against each other, their second drunken romp in bed together and more than half way through the movie.

Getting drunk does seem to bring them together, though. Perhaps inebriation is one of the laws of attraction?

Dramatically and romantically, the picture doesn't quite work either. Once Daniel and Audrey are finally married they agree to "play the part" for a while to avoid public embarrassment. The director's intent is to show them bonding during this period, but all we see is a few-minute montage of grocery shopping, house cleaning, etc., with a soundtrack manipulating you into feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Is doing things together one of the laws of attraction? Does it require something more? A nice CD perhaps?

Most disappointing about Laws of Attraction is that it doesn't even attempt to analyze or explain the meaning of its own title. Like the humor in the movie, the title by itself may be a clever bit of text but in the context of the whole story there is no substance behind it.


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