Saturday, October 20, 2012

Everything You Would Expect From A Romantic Comedy. Except Humor. Or Real Romance.

The Good: I suppose the acting; I had not seen Bronson or Moore as lawyers before...
The Bad: Ghastly predictable plot, No genuine character development, Not funny, Not romantic.
The Basics: Tired, predictable and pathetic, Laws Of Attraction offers the viewer nothing genuinely new.

There should be a new word coined to describe a movie whose trailer not only presents the best moments of a movie, but offers a condensed version of the entire film, including scenes at or near the end. Also, people who make movie posters that reveal climactic moments of a film, they should be fired (I'm looking at YOU, people who made the DVD cover to The Notebook!, reviewed here!). I recall seeing a preview of Laws Of Attraction in the theaters, thinking that looked alshone (I'm trying coining now, that's how desperate I am to get this review up to a respectable length!), I don't truly need to see it. Well, the library was closing early today for the holiday and it came down to Laws Of Attraction and the Ashton Kutcher movie Guess Who, so I grabbed this because I have a respect for Julianne Moore and Pierce Brosnan.

I respect them both a little less now.

Audrey Woods is a successful divorce lawyer who has never lost a case. She is working along in court when one day Daniel Rafferty pops up as opposing counsel. He, too, has never lost a case and his disheveled appearance causes Audrey to be caught off guard when he turns out to be an amazing lawyer. Soon, they are going head to hear in every major divorce in New York City. As they work the divorce of a rock star and fashion designer, Audrey and Daniel supposedly fall in love and accidentally get married.

Of course, if you've seen the alshone preview, you know how it ends, in fact, there are no real surprises. If you haven't seen the trailer, you can probably figure the movie out based upon the plot summary I wrote above. Being completely predictable is one of this film's chief faults. This film offers nothing in the way of surprises, even for those who have not seen any footage from it.

Sadly, for two respectable actors like Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore, the movie continues to suffer either from execution or idea. If it suffers from execution, it is about a romance with alcohol. All of the important events between Daniel and Audrey occur when they are under the influence of alcohol. They make love for the first time and get married both while falling-down drunk. In fact, the only time Audrey seems romantically interested in Daniel is when she is completely wasted. I mean, completely.

If the movie suffers from idea, then it fails because Audrey and Daniel are never genuinely romantic with one another. To hold Laws Of Attraction up as a love story is pretty scary when one looks at it objectively. Two people get drunk, have sex, get drunk again and get married and while that seems fine with Daniel, it's clearly a huge trauma for Audrey. That's not truly romantic no matter what stripe someone is.

So, an especially jaded - but less biased by concept than actuality - interpretation of Laws Of Attraction would be that this is the most successful film about a sexually predatory man to come down the pike in a long time. After all, when they are sober, Daniel is determined, manipulative and goal-oriented. When Audrey is drunk, he achieves all of his goals. You don't get much more predatory than the whole "get a woman drunk to shag her" thing. And yet, it is Daniel who gets everything he wants in this movie while Audrey is mostly just subjected to the machinations that work against her.

The thing that people might want to cling to, then, is the end. They might cry out "Audrey really loves Daniel!" Well, that's true. All of a sudden, Audrey is used to Daniel and literally over the course of a scene decides she loves him. The problem here is completely in suspension of disbelief. I can believe opposing counsel falling in love, I can buy the whole hate hate hate hate love thing, but here it's just a hyperbole. Audrey has lived her life with certain goals that she has wanted and suddenly, in a moment of epiphany she gives them all up. Maybe I'd buy it more if she wasn't a divorce lawyer. After all, with her extensive career as a divorce lawyer, in addition to her recent experiences of apparently making bad decisions while drunk, no one would seem to know the consequences of not thinking through a decision better than her. But then she just makes the leap.

The audience does not.

All that keeps the movie bearable - not even watchable - is the acting. While Audrey and Daniel are inconsistent, poorly-written characters, Julianne Moore and Pierce Brosnan do the best with what is written on the page. As a result, they do their best to play along with what is written and the film works when it is establishing their characters.

Moore, especially, is completely convincing as Audrey as a strong, professional woman. She has the bearing of a woman who is in charge, has worked hard to get where she is and who has a mindset for success. Moore plays her well as a strong woman and so when Audrey has to get angry for sleeping with Daniel and later for getting drunk and marrying him, she plays that with appropriate fury and frustration. Moore's performance is so good that it makes the viewer wonder why Audrey has anything to do with Daniel outside court after the first time they have sex and better yet, why she blindly drinks with him.

Bronsan is fine as Daniel, though the character he plays is the predictable disheveled genius. In fact, Laws Of Attraction makes me wish that Hollywood would stop producing more "Odd Couple" comedies. We get it, "opposites attract!" We're not dumb, we've seen it so many times, we get it. Bronsan does his part fine oscillating between unkempt and beautifully Brosnan.

It's a shame that they give such competent performances in such an otherwise terrible movie. Save yourself the time and just watch the alshone preview trailer; everything is in it.

For other works with Parker Posey, be sure to check out my reviews of:
Boston Legal
Superman Returns
Blade: Trinity
Best In Show


For other film reviews, please check out my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2012, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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