Something Borrowed Directed by: Luke Greenfield Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield, John Krasinski Running Time: 1 hr 53 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: May 6, 2011
PLOT: After her birthday party, Rachel (Goodwin) wakes up next to her best friend's fiancee (Egglesfield). The two must decide what to do as the wedding day for her friend (Hudson) draws near.
WHO'S IT FOR?: Don't be a sap - Something Borrowed is so skewered that it doesn't romanticize love, but instead cheating. This movie about two gal pals isn’t even for friends, as friendship is made out by the movie to be deceitful. If anything, Something Borrowed is for those who just enjoy hearing people talk about their feelings, and putting themselves in "I've got to talk to you" moments. But you can get that in real life, right?
EXPECTATIONS: Competing against Thor, it seemed like summer movies were already heading towards the beach reading. While I had no knowledge of the books, I had a sense that this would be some sort of "chick flick." Yet I pride myself on my tolerance to those films - I can enjoy them just as much as anything else, if they're done right.
Ginnifer Goodwin as Rachel: Poor Rachel gets tooled around too much. Her friend uses her, her friend's fiancee uses her, the sloppy Marcus even tries to use her, it's all very unfortunate. Goodwin's character gets a little sympathy from us as she is the least disgusting corner of this love triangle. Score: 4
Kate Hudson as Darcy: All of that rubbing up on Matthew McConaughey has started to take its toll. While Hudson hasn't always been the most tolerable of romantic comedy sweethearts, here her character takes her lack of charm and flamboyant obnoxiousness to levels we thought only McConaughey characters would dare flaunt. From the very beginning of the film, she's self-centered with no limits; a consistent presence of evil that becomes far too devoid of sympathy. Darcy makes for a consistently aggravating role that fatally baits general distaste for Hudson. Score: 2
Colin Egglesfield as Dex: Unless you think receiving a blank card (or a piece of bread) on Valentine's Day is a romantic gesture, you won't find this vanilla love interest to be of any actual interest. It's not sweet when a guy can't stand up for himself, and Dex is even more frustrating when it feels like he's using Rachel because he can't tell the truth to his fiancee. Here, Eggleston has got nothing but a grin. A reference he makes to Cameron Diaz only reminds us more that he's basically a dollar store Tom Cruise. Score: 3
John Krasinski as Ethan: In a stupid movie like Something Borrowed, he knows he's above all of the B.S. Because he keeps a distance from the "soap opera" (his words, not mine) within this story, Krasinski offers a safe haven of snark for all of us to turn to whenever this movie starts to get on our nerves (however quickly that may happen). Though we're not really sure why his character would ever want to hang around this crowd for longer than thirty seconds, he gives the biggest laughs of the film with his many sarcastic remarks. His snark isn't too forced, feeling much more authentic than it does "written." Krasinski's character is very deserving of his own spin-off in which he continues to troll the schmaltz exuding from this story where no one seems to be honest with one another. Score: 6
TALKING: Is this the first time that the line, "No, I didn't pull my vagina" has ever been said in a movie (that wasn't a porno)? Something Borrowed is full of emotional confrontations that romantics dream about, but the dialogue is very vanilla within the genre. Nothing is going to stick afterwards, except for the general basis of the relationship between Dex and Rachel: "I love you, but I'm too scared to make a move." Score: 3
SIGHTS: Amidst a total “WTF?” moment, Darcy and Rachel bust a move into a full dance sequence. It shows that anyone can be considered “funny” should they dance in coordination. It’s a lazy distraction from the chaos currently happening in the story; a medium crowd pleaser that comes really cheap. More obnoxious is the amount of “longing stares” written into the script – half of the movie is comprised of Dex and Rachel staring at each other quite obviously in public. Even worse is when Dex uses the super speed enabled to him by being in a romantic comedy to show up randomly and cause Goodwin to make the same surprised reaction. Score: 3
SOUNDS: The Something Borrowed soundtrack is a Daniel Powter song short of being the ultimate Starbucks playlist (from two years ago). Anna Nalick’s “Breathe (2 AM)” continues its fight for emotional life that features one of the characters trying to “just breathe.” Natasha Bedingfield closes the movie with “A Little Too Much,” which plays during the credits. Though Something Borrowed features a 90’s tribute band performance (they play “How’s It Going To Be” by Third Eye Blind) Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” is given prominent usage in an ugly moment of the film. The not-so-romantic song is used during a moment when a character’s surges of emotions are complimented by a soaking wet dash through the unexpected rainfall. I suppose “High and Dry” wouldn’t have worked lyrically, even though it’s a better fit. Score: 4
BEST SCENE: While Krasinski brings in some of the laughs, I couldn’t have guffawed louder than when Dex’s father told him to stop seeing Rachel. “It’s not the kind of people we are!” he tries to reason. Is she not white, upper middle class, higher educated, skinny, and wholesome enough for you, dumb dad?
ENDING: Something Borrowed works overtime to justify the wrongdoings to Darcy. The movie only ends like this so we can feel better about “rooting” for Rachel to keep having sex with her best friend’s fiancée.
QUESTIONS: Is cheating ever justified?
REWATCHABILITY: I don’t think “beach reads” have much re-read value, even for those who enjoy them. So neither does this movie.
Prominently sponsored by Heineken, Something Borrowed is not a movie about love, but a depiction of the alcohol-fueled one night stand culture at its most tragic. No one is honestly happy in this movie, so they need alcohol to stand as their scapegoat to free themselves from whatever social chains they have let themselves be bound by. Rachel sleeps with Dex after boozing up hardcore at her party. Later on, Darcy talks of her own actions, which are fueled by reckless substance consumption. Even Ethan finds alcohol to be an excuse for a brief tryst that haunts him throughout the movie (until he dashes off to London). Later on, when Dex and Rachel joke to each other, "no more outside bar conversations," they're continuing to lie to one another. By the logic of Something Borrowed, they shouldn't talk about their feelings anywhere but bars. They should all get lampshade-hat obliterated and then drunk dial each other, something that would spare us the misery of watching the sober reality of their progressively complicated "soap opera."
That being said, this is a stupid movie full of dumb people who do idiotic things. Rachel can't wo-man up and tell Dex how he feels. Dex is too much of a flat-out wussbag to do anything but accept whatever is forced onto him. Darcy is a complete mess who fulfills her soullessness (and joblessness?) by projecting herself onto everyone around her. Krasinski's Ethan is the only remotely smart character here, and he's ripping this movie up from the inside, while all creators and characters involved are too criminally oblivious to catch onto this. The creators of this story (author of the book Emily Giffin is probably also fair game to blame) think he's an amusing side character, but he's really preaching to the growing number of cynics in the choir who are progressively turned off by this movie's ignorant idiocy. When Ethan jokes that "the Hamptons are like a zombie movie directed by Ralph Lauren," Something Borrowed devours this pop culture reference by presenting the Hamptons in this exact form (with a tourism friendly montage and all). And when he says to Rachel, "You're all going to hell anyway," he's dead on.
Something Borrowed is also naive to the true nature of what we want in love - when Hudson's character drops out of the picture for a good chunk of the second act, this movie doesn't inspire love, or fighting for love, or the power of love, or whatever phrase with "love" in it that's been used in an Air Supply song. Instead it advocates cheating, and in its very sloppy heart-set way, directly promotes sneaking around your best friend. Regardless of how much the movie lies back on some lazy karma, the story stands out grotesquely - Rachel wasn't brave enough to stop Dex from getting interested in her best friend Darcy years ago, so now she's paying for it later by having to go through a horrible ordeal of guilt and deceit that involves sleeping with her best friend's fiancee. Beach readers and even general romantics, how can this story be considered sweet? Does it not violate the kind of trust that we dream about for our happiest relationships? Doesn't that essentially make this movie something kind of evil?
FINAL SCORE: 3/10