Audrey Woods (Julianne Moore), one of Manhattan’s most successful divorce lawyers, seems to have met her match in Daniel Rafferty (Pierce Brosnan), whose seemingly unorthodox manners and methods yield surprising results. The two verbally spar in courtrooms and legal symposiums for over a year, until a dinner meeting ends with them having a drunken tryst. Mortified over what has happened, Audrey vows to avoid Daniel the future. However, the two are forced back together on opposites sides of the divorce case that takes them to Ireland, where after yet another drunken evening, they awake to find themselves married. In order to preserve their standing as divorce lawyers, they must pose as a happily married couple.
If someone were to level a lawsuit against the makers of Laws Of Attraction for false advertising, they might have a very strong case. The advertising for the film strongly played up the “drunken marriage” aspect of the plot, indicating that the film was going to be a variation of the oldest of romantic comedies Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew. However, the marriage comes so late in the film that there is never any real time to explore the comedic possibilities. The unfortunate side effect is that the first hour of the film feels like an overly long setup for a rushed finale.
If this movie entertains at all it’s through the force of the performances more so that the anything the script has to offer. Brosnan gets to display the roguishly charming persona that he perfected on tv’s Remington Steele but hasn’t really used since. Juliann Moore doesn’t fare as well. Her character seems to be nothing more than an amalgamation of traits that exist solely to be called upon when needed by the film’s screenplay. We’re shown that she is supposedly a very upright, professional careerist, yet when she finds herself alone in Daniel’s office she immediately uses the opportunity to rifle through his files looking for information to help her case. Hardly the professional aura we’re lead to expect from this character. Frances Fisher manages a nice turn as Audrey’s cosmetic surgery obsessed mother and Parker Posey is unrecognizable as the fashion designer wife in the film’s main divorce case. Unfortunately, all this good acting work is done in service to a rather mediocre film that would only barely pass muster as video rental.