Something Borrowed – 2011

Directed by Luke Greenfield

Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, John Krasinski, Colin Egglesfield, Steve Howey, Ashley Williams

Screenplay Jennie Snyder Urman based on the book Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Deception, by another name, is the good girl’s revenge.  Something Borrowed is the bookworm’s fantasy.  Rachel (Goodwin) has been afflicted by the self-centered friendship of Darcy (Hudson) for most of her life.  As the story starts, we see that Darcy has organized a party celebrating her “best” friend’s 30th.  The story goes out of its way to present Darcy as selfish, egotistical and somewhat mocking of Rachel.  Darcy’s fiancee, Dex, is revealed to have originally been a college friend of Rachel’s.  Flashbacks reveal that it Darcy actually interrupted a blossoming romance between Rachel and Dex.  Years later, on the eve of her birthday and the verge of his wedding, the romance bursts like a wildfire.

Somehow these two lawyers have lived for years unable to be honest with Darcy.  What could have been a simple thing has now been dragged into a ridiculous illicit relationship.  Every step of the way, we are reminded that it is Darcy who is the problem, being self-absorbed, garish and crude.  This less than human presentation allows the viewer to feel better about the betrayal, and thereby justify it.

“You’re thirty,” Darcy opines to Rachel, “You can’t afford to be picky.”

Rachel is awkward and articulate, undoubtedly like many of those who enjoyed the 2004 novel of the same name, will watch this movie, and somewhat identify with it.  Her friendship with Darcy is long, and surface level deep.  What is important to Rachel, of course, Darcy can never know, while Darcy wears her own em0tions on her sleeve.

For depth, Rachel has another friend, Ethan (Krasinski).  He catches onto the burgeoning affair and tells Rachel exactly what she needs to hear: that Dex is being a “d*ckhead” and she is being “stupid.”  He is right, of course, but if she were to really listen to him, there would be no movie.

“I hate the fact that you yield to her at every turn,” he says to her, “…Rachel, you deserve to be happy.”

“Well, then, butt out,” she says, and then everyone goes back to the Hamptons the next weekend.

This leads to a confrontational badminton game, which leads to a confrontational night at the bar, leading to a walk in the rain, leading to reminiscing.  She battles with the idea Dex is too good for her, while he does the typical guy facing a big decision stuff.  And, by some miracle, it brings her back to the bar and just when she makes her move, he backs away.

Ginnifer is the right kind of actress for this role.  She emits innocence, intelligence and vulnerability.  Krasinski’s Ethan is obviously more of a man than Dex.  He does that classic move that all best friends do in movies, just as Rachel does for Darcy: listening.  Its like The Ballad of the Sad Cafe for friendship.

“I can’t take this ‘daddy beats me because he loves me’ excuse,” he says to her, as she decides to go back, all intent on making amends in her relationship with Darcy.  One more line, though, and her true friend, Ethan, acquiesces, paving the way for an ending…and a sequel.

Something Borrowed is as much of a mess as the relationships they portray.  The sequel has been green-lighted, and the story appears to deal with providing depth to the character of Darcy.  In Kate Hudson, they have a good actress for that role, but the script did her no favors.  Egglesfield comes across as a slightly more talkative version of Jake Ryan from 16 Candles.  While that movie was a comedy, there certainly are not many laughs to be had in this film.

There is a scene towards the end of the film when Darcy and Rachel meet in the street.  There is a depth to that scene that resonates more than any other point in the movie.  If only they’d let the actors act so sensibly in the rest of the story.

(** out of *****)


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