This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Travis McClain’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Around 2 AM, I realized I wasn't going to successfully fall asleep and decided to stay up and watch a movie. I settled on Laws of Attraction. It continued my recent revisitation of Pierce Brosnan's filmography, and it only runs 90 minutes. I've seen it once before, at least seven years ago. I figured it was due.
Brosnan and Julianne Moore are both likable in general and it's their likability that elevates and (kinda) saves this movie. Moore is clearly slumming it in such a generic, predictable romcom, which actually makes her performance the more interesting one to watch. Seeing her in "tough lawyer" mode works well, but whenever she has to switch to "sheltered and naive potential love interest" mode, it's nearly embarrassing.
This also affects the on-screen chemistry between the two. Their rivalry scenes play much more strongly than do their romance scenes, and I have to think it's because Moore was more comfortable playing a self-confident professional than she was playing a clueless, neurotic love interest.
There's also a rather serious issue with the two most pivotal personal events in their relationship arc. The first time they go out to dinner, they get drunk then come back to his place for sex. It's clear that he tried to discourage her from continuing to drink, so I don't think the argument could be made that it was predatory but all the same, it's also clear that he was in much better control of himself than she was.
Then later, their "wedding" takes place while they're also completely drunk. He's seen having had even more to drink than her, but in the morning it's him who has the clearer recollection. We later discover that he wasn't aware enough to realize that it was just a pageant and not a real wedding, so I have to accept that he wasn't in much better shape than she was, but it again reinforces the idea that getting her drunk was the only way to advance the relationship.
There's a flimsy "We do what we really want when we're drunk" discussion to try to justify it. In theory, I recognize the thinking behind it and I think in conversation that holds fairly true. But to use it to rationalize sex? That's a very insidious part of our rape culture, and the fact it's used in an otherwise lighthearted romcom here only underscores just how entrenched it is. It's hard to get society at large to address the very serious nature of using judgment-altering substances to take advantage of people when it's used for laughs in a movie like this.
Some may accuse me of "over-thinking" on this point, but this is instead an opportunity for me to demonstrate how many people casually "under-think" some very serious issues.
Laws of Attraction Re-Ranked on My Flickchart (#860/1489)
Laws of Attraction < The Good, the Bad and the Ugly --> #860
Truth be told, I wasn't a big fan of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; I prefer For a Few Dollars More from that trilogy. Still, it was more satisfying than Laws of Attraction.
Laws of Attraction < Year One --> #1118
Year One wasn't as sharp as it could have been, but it has its moments. Plus, it didn't squander the talents of both Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore.
Laws of Attraction > Fast Times at Ridgemont High --> #1118
Laws of Attraction is too generic and predictable for my taste, and I dislike its use of getting Julianne Moore's character drunk to advance their relationship arc, but Fast Times at Ridgemont High bored me.
Laws of Attraction < The Wedding Planner --> #1211
It's less painful to watch J.Lo and Matthew McConaughey in a generic romcom than it is to watch Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore in one.
Laws of Attraction > Robots --> #1211
I was disappointed by Laws of Attraction, but I found Robots entirely forgettable. Going with the disappointment here because at least I remember it.
Laws of Attraction > The Lost Boys --> #1211
I can will myself to overlook the glaring problems with Laws of Attraction and find some things to enjoy (like Martin Sheen as a self-indulgent rock star). The Lost Boys just didn't do much for me.
Laws of Attraction < West Side Story --> #1223
Truthfully, I shouldn't even have West Side Story on my Flickchart; I only saw it once, in middle school and I'm sure I wasn't fair to it then. I'd be much more inclined to give it another try than Laws of Attraction.
Laws of Attraction < For the Birds --> #1228
I'm picking the animated short of bullies getting their comeuppance over the generic romcom that relies on getting the female love interest drunk to get her to have sex and then later to get married.
Laws of Attraction > Empire of Dreams --> #1228
I have some serious issues with Laws of Attraction and its use of alcohol to get a woman into bed, but I also have a problem with George Lucas rewriting his own history. I'd pick From "Star Wars" to "Jedi" over both of these.
Laws of Attraction > Broken Flowers --> #1228
I wanted to like both of these, but didn't care much for either. I can find more to like about Laws of Attraction, though I'm also more bothered by its casual use of getting the female lead drunk.
Laws of Attraction < The Addams Family --> #1229
I rarely pay much attention to where movies are on my Flickchart, but I clearly owe The Addams Family another viewing because it shouldn't be this low. Its production design alone is better than anything about Laws of Attraction.
Laws of Attraction was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #1229/1489