Retro Review: Laws of Attraction

Does anyone remember the last time that award-winning actress Julianne Moore took on a Hollywood comedy in a leading role?

Sure she has dabbled in comedic clunkers like 2000’s “The Ladies Man” and 2001’s “Evolution” but the last time as a leading lady was probably almost 10 years ago in 1995’s “Nine Months” where she starred as an pregnant girlfriend to Hugh Grant’s ecstatic daddy to be. It was a funny and tender film partially because of Moore’s steadfast performance to Grant’s stumbling buffoon. It was dynamite for Moore’s career which seemed to skyrocket after the film.

In 2004’s “Laws of Attraction”, Moore returns to comedy but this time Moore has no hapless, bumbling co-star to help her.

Instead she has Pierce Brosnan who hasn’t been funny or bumbling since the close of the TV series “Remington Steele” in 1987. Pierce can be mean, charming, devious and a flirt but he is no comedian.

Moore plays Audrey Miller, a divorce attorney who is at the top of her game until new comer Daniel Rafferty (Brosnan) moves in on her territory. Audrey and Daniel quickly become the talk of the town as they square off case after case.

It isn’t until the attorney’s battle over the estate of rock-star (Michael Sheen) and his fashion designer wife (Parker Posey) that things get ugly especially when they end up accidentally married.

The biggest problem with “Laws” is its first two acts. Why did we need them? The film would have been more fun if the film started off with the goofy marriage like in the trailers instead of using it as a third act ploy. I think the film could have used that plot for a lot more laughs and friction between these two legal eagles.

It was hard to see any real chemistry between Brosnan and Moore. Moore could romance a kitchen faucet and we would believe it but I never felt any depth to Brosnan even though the script called for it.

The other thing that bugged me about their romantic scenes was throughout the whole film neither of the couple says “I love you”. It is always I “care” or some lesser word. That in some respect dropped a wall between these lovers for me.

Basically in this movie, Pierce Brosnan should be known as “Bland, James Bland!”

My favorite scenes were between Moore and her on-screen mother, Frances Fisher. Now that was chemistry and Fisher seems be born to play Moore’s mother. There was such electricity in every one of their scenes that you wanted so much more from Fisher.

I can go on and on about how tired the romantic comedy genre is but once in a while I see one that surprises me. The mature romantic comedy, “Something’s Gotta Give” was a great film for this genre and I hoped that Moore was able to shine some in “Laws” like Diane Keaton did in “Something’s”.

I love Moore and she is probably one of the finest if not the finest actress working today but the problem is not even her magic could save this film.

(2.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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