An attempted throwback to those old romantic comedies of manners of the 50’s., “Laws” sadly never really sparks despite two charming leads and a decent premise. Director Peter Howitt was responsible for “Sliding Doors”, one of the better unconventional rom-coms of the last few years, so it’s surprising he’d resort back to such an ordinary, even somewhat dated style of film such as this. The audience being targeted is definitely older women, but the reason a film like those 50’s movies still work today is that they’re actually quite smart and witty, something not on display here.
Fault doesn’t really apply on the performances as all the actors do alright. This is predominantly Moore’s movie and while it’s refreshing to see her in light fun fare like this, her character of one of New York’s top lawyers is oddly saddlebagged with a large insecurity complex and almost teenage sense of pettiness which just doesn’t ring true. Brosnan as the sarcastic, charming, dirty trickster is far better suited to the actor who plays it up and yet still neither generates much more than a twitter let alone a laugh.
The improbable screenplay continues with some rather unjustified leaps such as spending a good portion of the movie’s middle in Ireland visiting a divorcing rock star and his wife’s castle (Michael Sheen and Parker Posey in overdone but nicely aggressive parts).
Here laughs rely on straight-laced Audrey getting utterly tanked on a local liquor concoction called ‘Goat’s Nut’ or the pair getting lost in the foggy countryside. Then the marriage subplot kicks in and the story becomes even more forced to try and bring these all too opposite people together in a way that just doesn’t work.
Had there been a tighter script and sharper sense of wit behind the dialogue this could’ve been genius (it’s odd that the writer behind this is also responsible for the superbly savage “Soapdish”). As such though its laughs rely too much on underdone slapstick comedy whilst the romance is too trite to carry it.
Production values are fine if uninspired, the real scene stealer of the film is Frances Fisher who’s superb as the eternally young, plastic surgery loving mother to Moore. It’ll probably play better on the small screen, but alas this one is too featherweight to be remembered days, let alone months from now.