Hotshot New York divorce lawyers Daniel Rafferty (Brosnan) and Audrey Miller (Moore) earn their living by rending marriages asunder. How ironic, then, that they are irresistibly drawn to each other when they find themselves on opposite sides in the court room.
According to the makers of Law Of Attraction, adult audiences looking for sexy, sophisticated romantic comedies are not well served by Hollywood these days.
They have a point, as anyone who has suffered through Maid In Manhattan, Two Weeks Notice or Something's Gotta Give in search of a date movie that doesn't feature Jason Biggs masturbating, a side-splitting semen/beer mix-up or the phrase 'gobble, gobble' will attest. There was a time, of course, when sexy, sophisticated romantic comedy was a Hollywood staple - think His Girl Friday, The Philadelphia Story, Adam's Rib or Pillow Talk, the erotic allure of these films stemming not from sex itself, but from the tantalising absence of it.
This film deserves some respect for its efforts to revive this fine tradition. Sadly, just as the normally infallible Coens sometimes struggled with Sturges-style screwball in Intolerable Cruelty, so this tale of two high-flying Manhattan divorce lawyers (Moore and Brosnan) pushing each other's buttons from opposite sides of the courtroom and - oops! - accidentally getting hitched on a business trip to Ireland never gets up a decent head of steam.
Brosnan's fine as the kind of devilishly handsome, impeccably rumpled man's-man that every slobby couch potato believes himself to be, and Moore is terrific as the kind of borderline neurotic career gal who, in this kind of movie, can't help falling for a rogue.
Among the supporting cast, Frances Fisher is great fun as Moore's surgically-enhanced, man-hungry mum, but Michael Sheen - as an obnoxious Brit rock star, the likes of which only exist in Hollywood screenwriters' heads - and Parker Posey as his whining wife (whose divorce is the catalyst for Brosnan and Moore's affair) are potently irritating.
In days of yore, when The Hays Code was law and intercourse wasn't invented, highly charged verbal sparring was as sly a substitute for foreplay as a pair of cigarettes smouldering in an ashtray was for red hot rumpo. It dripped with delicious innuendo and barely contained sexual tension.
Brosnan and Moore get the all-important rhythm of the dialogue right, but they're not well served by a script that has nothing like the zip their spirited delivery deserves.
The scenario itself - courtroom battles as courtship by proxy - is more than a little tired and, despite a few flickers of charm, the film seldom raises itself above the level of pleasant. And pleasant ain't sophisticated, and it certainly ain't sexy.
Reviewed by Simon Braund