Jul 10, 2014

Review: Laws of Attraction (2004)

On the surface, Laws of Attraction sort of looks like it could be decent. The title's kinda clever because it's about two lawyers, it's an Irish/British/German production so maybe it won't be like every other Hollywood romantic comedy ever made and I suppose the cast looks OK too. The thing is, director Peter Howitt clearly had North America in mind because Laws of Attraction is painfully obvious and no different from other rom-coms.

Parts of the film take place in Ireland where a lot of the characters and events there are kind of stereotypical. It's strange that Pierce Brosnan who is an executive producer for Laws of Attraction would accept portraying his home country like that but again, this is for North American audiences primarily. The Ireland that is shown in LoA is what everyone expects.


Genre: comedy, romance
Directed by: Peter Howitt
Produced by: David Bergstein, Julie Durk, David T. Friendly, etc.
Written by: Robert Harling, Aline Brosh McKenna
Music by: Edward Shearmur
Running time: 90 minutes
Production company: Deep River Productions, Irish DreamTime, Initial Entertainment Group, etc.
Distributed by: New Line Cinema
Country: Ireland, United Kingdom, Germany
Language: English
Budget: $32,000,000
Box office: $30,016,165 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Michael Sheen, Parker Posey, Frances Fisher, Nora Dunn, Heather Ann Nurnberg, Johnny Myers, Mike Doyle, Allan Houston



Audrey Woods (Julianne Moore) is the best divorce lawyer in New York, bar none. That is until Daniel Rafferty (Pierce Brosnan) arrives to town who apparently had been plying his trade on the West Coast. Both end up on opposite sides of a very large case and are very different as people from one another. No way they can fall in love right? Or do opposites attract?


The story of Laws of Attraction doesn't do a very good job at convincing that there are some real feelings between Audrey and Daniel. They spend a lot of time fighting because they're usually pitted against each other in high profile cases and not to mention the fact that they're opposites. Audrey is an all serious business, by-the-book, organized kind of person while Daniel is a last-minute, disheveled charmbag. Along with all their fighting, there are these small artificial injections of romance that the script makes with accompanying music that in no way feels believable.

(Spoilers) So once it's established that they're sort of getting along, we get a nice, happy montagy sequence of events that show how everything is working followed later on by the sad montagy sequence of events following the inevitable rom-com fallout. Trying to make the audience buy Audrey and Daniel's love with a montage just isn't going to cut it here. The build-up to the montage is incredibly weak and has nothing to stand on in the first place. (End Spoilers)

What also really bothers me is that Audrey and Daniel are incredibly clichéd characters because of their whole being opposites thing. Basically every other character in Laws of Attraction is equally cliché. Take Audrey's mother (Frances Fisher) who's attempting to defy age with plastic surgery, she enjoys her cocktails and she's all sultry and flirty with other men. That's funny right? Because how could she be the mother of Audrey Woods who doesn't even date? Then there's rocker Thorne Jamison (Michael Sheen) who's the rocker we all can imagine in our heads. Everyone comes from the Hollywood Movie Character Selection Manual and it just makes for an incredibly dull film.

Without any solid ground to stand on, the romance in Laws of Attraction falls apart. The comedy aspect of the film lacks any real imagination and any real laughs. Ireland becomes some sort of magical land of romance which is just silly while also representing Ireland as what everyone imagines it to be like. LoA has nothing unique or special about it and doesn't feature a whole lot of chemistry between the two leads either. Prepare to be repulsed if you decide to watch this one.



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