If the producers of the James Bond films want an excuse to replace Pierce Brosnan as 007, they need look no further than his latest romantic comedy. Paunchy, greying and double-chinned, the 50-year-old actor could hardly be more removed from Ian Fleming's lady-killing super-spy. It's quite possible Laws Of Attraction is a deliberate attempt to broaden his range. Yet watching this lacklustre mix of dated screwball and Irish whimsy, it's hard to see it as anything else but career suicide.
Pierce plays Daniel Rafferty, a New York divorce attorney whose dishevelled appearance hides a keen legal brain. It's something rival brief Audrey Woods (Julianne Moore) learns at her cost when he deftly outfoxes her in court. Soon they are locking swords on a regular basis, but their public animosity cloaks a powerful sexual attraction. Matters come to a head when, after a
few too many at an Irish folk festival, they wake up hitched.
"TOO OLD TO CONVINCE"
How they come to be in Ireland in the first place owes less to any plausible plot development and more to the involvement of Brosnan's Irish production company, an organisation that - as The Nephew and Evelyn proved - seems intent on reviving the kind of clichéd images of the Emerald Isle that should have died with The Quiet Man. For the record, though, it has something to do with a crumbling castle prized by both rocker Michael Sheen and estranged wife Parker Posey, whose OTT performances provide what laughs there are in Peter Howitt's limp affair.
There's no denying Brosnan and Moore have an easy rapport that fleetingly recalls such classic Hollywood partnerships as Tracy-Hepburn and Hudson-Day. But they are both simply too old to convince in roles that require them to behave like giddy, lovesick teenagers. Besides, what kind of divorce experts tie the knot without signing a pre-nup?