LAWS OF ATTRACTION
by Judge J. Howard Sundermann
There are so many good legal
films made, why does it seem impossible to make a good one about
domestic relations lawyers? The recent Intolerable Cruelty
was a disaster and Laws of Attraction is no better. Kramer
v. Kramer was an excellent film but it was really more about
the relationship between the father and his son than about the
attorneys and legal issues in the case.
Laws of Attraction is the
classic Hollywood romantic comedy formula, where two people seem
to hate each other at the beginning of the movie, but slowly
discover that they are in love by the end of the film. It seems
to be modeled loosely on the old film Adam's Rib with
Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, but is not nearly as good.
In Laws of Attraction the two main characters are both
divorce lawyers on opposite sides of various cases. Pierce Brosnan
as Daniel Rafferty is raffish and relaxed and never seems to
have his tie on properly. He does his part reasonably well given
this script. But the usually reliable Julian Moore, who is good
in dramatic roles, is miscast and seems ill suited to comedy.
She plays an uptight attorney and seems none too bright for
someone who is introduced as having finished first in her class
at Yale. She seems closer to Elle Woods in Legally Blonde
than the Hepburn character in Adam's Rib.
The plot is that these seemingly ill matched people oppose each
other in court, but at some point go out together and get totally
drunk. In the morning they wake up and find that they are married.
They are presented as getting along well for a while, but then
a small incident persuades the Moore character that she wants
to get a divorce of their own.
The filmmaker try's to spice up an otherwise dull screenplay
with locations and side characters. For some unexplained reason,
Brosnan, the top-notch divorce lawyer in New York, has his office
over a Chinese restaurant in China Town. The two also make a
trip to a castle in Ireland, but neither location helps much.
One side character is good, Francis Fisher as Moore's mother.
She is a vain ex-beauty who when asked if she is really fifty
six years old replies, "Parts of me are." The two
primary divorce clients, one a rock star and the other a dress
designer, are just annoying.
There is not much here, save your eight dollars for the summer
Posted May 11, 2004