Release Date:  April 30, 2004
Rating:  PG-13 (for sexual content and language)
Genre:  Action/Drama/Adventure
Run Time: 90 minutes
Director:  Peter Howitt
Actors:  Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Parker Posey, Francis Fisher, Michael Sheen

If you like lawyer jokes, you’ll love this film, which plays on stereotypes and creates a few new ones while dispensing a much-needed message about the power of making marriage work, against all odds.

Audrey Woods (Julianne Moore) and Daniel Rafferty (Pierce Brosnan) are successful New York divorce attorneys who have never lost a case, but any resemblance between the two ends there. The daughter of a social icon, Audrey works for a top city firm and lives in a stylish apartment. She believes that divorce can and must be handled amicably and honestly. When things get stressful, she dashes into the bathroom for a Twinkie or two. Daniel, on the other hand, keeps his cases like his suits and his office – messy and dirty. Like Audrey, he’s convinced that people should put the passion they so often display for divorce into saving their marriage, thus avoiding the whole process. But unlike Audrey, when all else fails, this Irishman has no qualms about using dishonest tactics to win.

OBJECTIONABLE CONTENT:
"Laws of Attraction"

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When the legal eagles find themselves pitted against one another in court, Audrey seeks out Daniel and tries for a settlement, but instead winds up getting drunk with him. She is attracted to his rakish charms, but refuses to admit it. They nevertheless spend the night together. The next morning, Audrey has to wear the suit that Daniel washed and shrunk the night before to court. She’s further humiliated when Daniel pulls her panties from his pocket during the hearing, and promptly loses her case.

For the next few months, the two battle it out, much to the delight of the media. When Daniel agrees to represent a spurned fashion-designer (Parker Posey), Audrey seeks out the philandering rock-star husband (Michael Sheen) and goes to war. Doing a pretty good imitation of the late Sid Vicious (of the Sex Pistols) and Nancy Spungen, these clients both want revenge – and their Irish castle. So Daniel and Audrey head to the luxurious abode to depose the staff as witnesses. But alcohol is calling, and they get drunk again. This time, they pull a "Britney" and tie the knot.

Audrey is horrified, but Daniel is smitten. When the news hits the press back home, Audrey nevertheless abandons plans for a quickie divorce and agrees to pretend that the marriage is real, so their careers won’t suffer. The problem is, Audrey really is in love, just out of touch with her feelings – something her youth-obsessed mother (Frances Fisher) intends to cure.

The happily-ever after ending won’t surprise anyone. After all, this is a romantic comedy. And we go to see these because we like the way they make us feel – warm and happy and hopeful that love really does prevail. The great thing about this movie is that not only does love prevail, but marriage does as well, and that’s not something you can bet on these days – especially at the movies. So the message, that we must work things out if we possibly can and save the marriage, is an excellent one.

To get there, you have to accept that Audrey and Daniel aren’t exactly church people, though. The fact that she can only connect to Daniel while drunk is disturbing, and is never addressed by the film. Moreover, it might even lead one to conclude that getting drunk is a good thing, because it forces “destiny” to happen. This is a deceitful message at best. Alcohol destroys our inhibitions and boundaries, which, like fences, are meant to keep the good in and the bad out. If anything, the one-night-stand between Audrey and Daniel alienated them and prevented them from slowly building a real relationship – one that is based on intimacy, not sex.

Both Brosnan and Moore do excellent jobs with their roles, and the acting throughout the film is superb. I also liked Sheen’s punk-rock persona and Fisher’s mother character, who each got some laughs. The script, though fairly predictable, has some very cute one-liners scattered throughout. “Are you really 56?” Daniel asks Audrey’s mother, who has a penchant for plastic surgery. “Parts of me are,” she answers. Audrey also tells her mother, “He’s not your type. He’s old enough to drive.” Throughout it all, she remains oddly optimistic about love, despite numerous divorces – another way the film emphasizes a pro-marriage message.

Despite its broken, imperfect characters, “Laws of Attraction” is a nice movie that will appeal to couples needing a romantic boost and women longing to believe in love again. If nothing else, it will certainly remind us that, when considering divorce, we would all do well to “Remember the Alimony!”