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3 reviews, 8 user ratings

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Laws of Attraction
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by Scott Weinberg

"Two great performances torpedoed by their own movie."
2 stars

There's not one frame of "Laws of Attraction" that feels even remotely fresh or new or challenging. It's just another connect-the-dots romantic comedy that plays out precisely as it's supposed to. No muss, no fuss, a handful of chuckles, and a narrative that's as memorable as a warm glass of water. One the other hand, there's Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore....

In a flick that so desperately wants to be called "a romantic screwball comedy from the days of yore," the idea of finding something unique or unpredictable is fairly ludicrous. Fuzzy little rom-coms like this one are like TV dinners for middle-aged women; they're predictably bland yet oddly comfortable. In this respect, Laws of Attraction qualifies; everything within the movie (down to the smallest drop of breathless banter) seems culled from an earlier, better movie.

What saves this one from the automatic stink pile is a factor that's saved many a bad film over the last 80-some years: movie star wattage and simple, charming screen presence.

Julianne Moore and Pierce Brosnan have that movie star wattage as they effortlessly inhabit two cipher characters and somehow craft performances likable enough to buoy one truly derivative screenplay.

The love schpiel sees Brosnan and Moore as two bickering divorce attorneys. Already you know precisely where this movie is headed. The head-butting attorneys get drunk while spending time on a shameless plot contrivance in lovely old Ireland, end up getting "drunk married" (yeah, that old chestnut), and must then spend all their time pretending...not to be married. And they can't just get a divorce because, in a display of logic found only in movie screenplays, they're divorce lawyers and such a sordid display would surely mar their respective reputations...as if getting married while splatter-faced drunk does wonders for your social status.

Meanwhile in the background there's an annoying subplot about a divorce between a libidinous rock star and his shrewish clothes designer of a wife. If this subplot sounds a lot like filler material, I'd say you're on to something.

On top of a screenplay cobbled together from eleven other romance movies, there's the issue of product placement. As in "Boy, Laws of Attraction sure does have an obnoxiously large amount of product placement between the opening and closing credits!" It's tough to feel any emotional attachment toward a film that's not much more than an unending parade of Pepsi Ones, Fedexes, Fiddle Faddles and Hostess Cakeses. Yeah, sure, product placement is a part of modern moviemaking; we accept that. But I haven't seen this many in-movie ads since the McDonald's Dance Sequence in Mac & Me.

So clearly Laws of Attraction is a filmsy and disposable affair. But...

If you consider yourself an avid fan of Brosnan and/or Moore, there's a good reason you may want to overlook the flick's obvious shortcomings and give it a spin regardless: The two are really quite great together. Given a better screenplay, this duo could have delivered something truly special. Alas, what we're left with is two great and supremely affable actors stuck with a movie that's simply not trying as hard as the actors are. Toss in a great little supporting performance by Frances Fisher and you're looking at a handful of truly enjoyable performances left adrift in a sea of rom-com cliché and chick-flick simplicity.

Earns a few points simply by not being as obnoxious as the rom-coms geared for younger women, but the overall feeling of "Laws of Attraction" is that of two lovable actors hoping to salvage a turkey through sheer force of charm. They succeed now and again, but the flick's overwhelming banality smothers them in the end.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=9016&reviewer=128
originally posted: 04/30/04 01:46:34
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 San Francisco Film Festival. For more in the 2004 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/16/09 CTT Unwatchable mess, almost half a dozen writers credited! 1 stars
2/02/06 Anthony Feor Peirce as a coky ol' bastard is not how i like him 3 stars
2/17/05 Tracie Smegelski I laughed once (when their car slipped away behind them). Otherwise a waste of 75 minutes. 1 stars
9/04/04 SF good actors. thats about it ! 3 stars
6/13/04 stefon de dog this movie was so frigon slowww!!!! and thare was no chemistry 1 stars
6/06/04 John except for a moment or two in Ireland it is neither romantic nor funny 2 stars
6/03/04 Daveman At least it's better than Along Came Polly. 2 stars
4/20/04 Cameron Slick A light, entertaining law romp that is greatly funny until it peddles into romantic formula 4 stars
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  30-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-Aug-2004



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