Picks and Pans Review: Laws of Attraction

updated 05/10/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/10/2004 01:00AM

Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore

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Longing for an amusing movie in which two intelligent adults tussle verbally, trading withering bons mots and arch looks, all the while denying their mutual attraction until it's time for a happy ending? Me too, but this isn't it—not by a long shot. Although Laws of Attraction boasts swell-looking, accomplished leads, the two stars seem uncomfortable in their roles and the script is so hackneyed and the jokes so lackluster that it is amazing none of the actors fall asleep halfway through scenes.

Moore and Brosnan play hotshot divorce lawyers in Manhattan who are representing opposing clients. She's uptight, he's loosey-goosey. He is drawn to her, but she keeps pushing him away. Eventually, while pursuing a legal matter, they wind up together in Ireland, get drunk and wed. There is then supposedly great suspense over whether they'll stay married.

For a romantic comedy to work, one must (a) like the characters and (b) buy their situation. Laws fails on both counts. Moore, who has done splendid work elsewhere, acts as if she just swigged cod-liver oil and is desperate (but too polite) to vamoose. A scruffy Brosnan pours on the charm, lobbing love bombs Moore's way, but his lines are so feeble they end up as weapons of self-destruction. (PG-13)

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