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New Line Home Cinema presents
Laws of Attraction (2004)

Audrey Woods: Six months for sexual addiction?
Mary Harrison: My therapist was very good.

- Julianne Moore, Brette Taylor

Review By: Nate Meyers  
Published: August 31, 2004

Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore
Other Stars: Frances Fisher, Michael Sheen, Parker Posey, Nora Dunn, Brette Taylor
Director: Peter Howitt

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, language
Run Time: 01h:29m:58s
Release Date: August 24, 2004
UPC: 794043725524
Genre: romantic comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BBB- C+

DVD Review

Laws of Attraction is the kind of movie that is guaranteed to get a primarily negative response from movie critics. The story and character arcs are obvious, its portrayal of the legal system is nonsensical, and—the kiss of death as far as critics are concerned—it is heavily inspired by a Hollywood classic (in this case, 1949's Adam's Rib). Regardless of all these supposed flaws, it still is an enjoyable 90 minutes and ideal viewing for a date.

To be fair, Laws of Attraction does not achieve the level of sophistication or energy as the fantastic Tracey-Hepburn vehicle that inspired it, but if we are to criticize a movie for not being great then the whole idea of film criticism is practically a moot point. It is visually handsome and contains two charming, attractive leads that have a nice chemistry together. The script is a mixture of far-fetched occurrences and shamefully obvious audience manipulations, but whoever dishes out 5 dollars for this movie would expect nothing else, so can this really count as a fault?

Two attorneys are at the height of their powers in practicing divorce law and it is only inevitable that they will face each other in court. Audrey Woods (Julianne Moore) is representing Mary Harrison (Brette Taylor) and assures her client of victory. Just as it looks like Audrey will win another high profile case, Mr. Harrison hires a new attorney. The erratic Daniel Rafferty (Pierce Brosnan) surprises the whole of New York with his stunning victory. Audrey immediately hates Daniel, and with good reason. She is a hard working professional that takes her career seriously. He, on the other hand, is just as likely to sleep in court as he is to win a case.

After Daniel defeats Audrey, the two become bitter rivals. The two constantly run up against one another in court, with Audrey winning a case followed by Daniel winning and then Audrey and so on and so on and so on. It's amazing that the Judge (Nora Dunn) doesn't find the two of them in contempt with all of the antics and shouting the two of them do. So bitter is their anger for each other that it is obvious that they love one another, except nobody, other than Audrey's mother (Frances Fisher, who gives a darling performance) notices.

Just as Daniel and Audrey are beginning to grow accustomed to their rivalry, a pair of super-rich rockers file for divorce. Audrey represents singer Thorne Jamison (Michael Sheen) and Daniel represents his wife, Serena (Parker Posey). Each member is willing to give up everything except for their castle in Ireland, which leads the two lawyers to the castle where they will interview the staff to see who is the rightful owner. As ludicrous as this plot development sounds, it actually doesn't feel at all out of place. This is probably a result of the on screen chemistry of Moore and Brosnan, which basically allows the audience to forget about reality and escape into the romance of the story. When the two wake up one morning in Ireland to discover that they got married while drunk, we know exactly what will happen. The two will pretend to be married in order to save their careers and eventually start to like living with one another. Obviously there will be a set back here and there and the marriage will come close to going up in smoke, but in good old Hollywood fashion the two will come through on the other side with mile-wide smiles.

Some people will be unable to suspend disbelief in order to appreciate this movie and this is understandable. The courtroom scenes that feature Daniel and Audrey can only exist in the realm of the cinema, with Daniel dancing on tabletops and Audrey binge eating in the bathroom. Yet, they make for a good time and, simply put, are funny. Moore is probably best known for her dramatic roles, but she has a great sense of comedic timing here. Brosnan's days of playing James Bond may be coming to an end, but he is lacks none of the charm that landed him the role of 007 nearly ten years ago. The simple fact is that Laws of Attraction is as good as its stars, and both are in good form.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: Laws of Attraction is presented here in anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen and also 1.33:1 pan-and-scan. The widescreen is to be preferred, since it is the movie's original aspect ratio. Colors and skintones come across well and there is no evidence of compression artifacts. This is a crisp transfer with a clean image, but it is nothing remarkable.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The sound is presented in both a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and a Dolby Surround English mix. The 5.1 mix sounds nice with the musical score and crowd scenes filling the surround speakers nicely. There is next to nothing present here in terms of sound separation and directionality, but the source material doesn't provide much opportunity for it.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 17 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Notebook, Unconditional Love, Elf
1 TV Spots/Teasers
6 Deleted Scenes
1 Alternate Endings
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Laws of Attraction is not a major release from New Line Home Entertainment, which means that it does not have the usual feast of extras dished out by their Platinum and infinifilm lines. There are DVD-rom and online features that PC users with a DVD-rom will be able to access. As for all viewers, there are six deleted scenes. The total runtime for the scenes, one of which is an alternate ending, comes to 16 minutes, 55 seconds. Most of the scenes are continuations of scenes in the movie and were rightly trimmed for pacing purposes. Each is in anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1, but for some odd reason automatically plays English subs that you'll have to turn off with the remote control. The other feature is a collection of trailers. The teaser and full trailer for Laws of Attraction are both presented in anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1. There are also previews for other New Line titles—The Notebook, Unconditional Love, and Elf— not yet available on DVD. If you like the movie give the deleted scenes a look, otherwise skip the extras.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

People who are looking for a cute movie for a Saturday night will be pleased with Laws of Attraction. This DVD is adequate, with a respectable transfer and a pleasant sound mix. The extras are not very extensive but the deleted scenes do have a few laughs.

 


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