LAWS OF ATTRACTION
At the top of their game, high-powered New York divorce attorneys Daniel Rafferty (Pierce Brosnan) and Audrey Woods (Julianne Moore) are a classic study in opposites. She is meticulous in her preparation and practices law strictly by the book; he makes opportunities and manages to win by the seat of his pants. Now they are pitted against each other on opposite sides of a nasty public divorce between fashion designer Serene (Parker Posey) and her rock-star husband Thorne (Michael Sheen), with an Irish castle at stake. Audrey and Daniel travel to Ireland to chase separate depositions, and find themselves thrown together at a romantic Irish country festival. During a night of drinking and dancing, they are swept away by the moment, and wake up married. How can they continue to work on opposite sides?
Review by Louise Keller:
With its preposterous premise, it’s hard to imagine what could have possessed this top-notch cast to get involved in this fiasco of a film from Pierce Brosnan’s Irish DreamTime production company in the first place. The script is a disaster, full of contrivance and Peter Howitt (Sliding Doors) misjudges his direction to such an extent that every ounce of charm is squeezed out of it.
Lacking the wit of Intolerable Cruelty, Laws of Attraction falls short of being an embarrassment, only due to the charisma of its stars. The best thing in the film is Frances Fisher’s youth-obsessed Sara, who spends her life going to rock concerts, exercising and having cosmetic enhancements. I chuckled when she replies to the question whether she is really 56: ‘parts of me are’, she coos. Hers is the fridge that is filled with syringes in anticipation of her ‘lip-party’, when fat from ample areas are injected into lips. ‘Don’t ever use that word in public,’ she constantly scolds, when Audrey calls her Mum, and her colourful larger-than-life Sara is jolly good fun. Julianne Moore’s Audrey, however, is badly directed and overplays every scene. Pierce Brosnan fares slightly better, managing to inject wry charm as the story progresses, despite the progress of his character from cocky to soppy. But the relationship is never grounded in any kind of reality, and we don’t believe any of it for a single minute. What sort of life could the script writers have, prompting them to write the kind of scenes where characters have a few drinks and end up either in bed or married to each other!
So much is played just for (supposed) laughs. In a bid to make the peace, Audrey buys Daniel a tie, presenting it to him with the line ‘I thought you’d enjoy owning one without a stain.’ When she wakes up (the first time) finding herself in bed with Daniel, she gasps ‘What have I done,’ and promptly scampers to collect her shrunken clothes (minus her panties) from the spin dryer. Events in the picturesque Irish countryside become even more far-fetched, and Audrey and Daniel fail to look even slightly perturbed when the car with all their luggage rolls down the road on its own. Parker Posey’s scowling brat fashion-designer and Michael Sheen’s debauched, spikey-haired, black-eyed punk rock-star make a colourful couple, but not only are these characters badly written, they are totally unappealing, so we have no interest as to who will be the victor in the divorce courts. Watch out for David Kelly (Waking Ned Devine) is a small, but crucial role.
Even lovers of films classified as ‘guilty pleasures’ will baulk at this waste of good talent.
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LAWS OF ATTRACTION (PG)
CAST: Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Michael Sheen, Parker Posey, Frances Fisher
PRODUCER: Julie Durk, David T. Friendly, Beau St. Clai, Marc Turtletaub
DIRECTOR: Peter Howitt
SCRIPT: Aline Brosh McKenna, Robert Harling (story by Aline Brosh McKenna)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Adrian Biddle
EDITOR: Tony Lawson
MUSIC: Ed Shearmur
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Charles Wood
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 22, 2004
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