“Something Borrowed” Is Nothing New

Movie titles are an interesting topic to consider because some of them like “Vanilla Sky,” “Eyes Wide Shut,” “Blue Valentine,” and “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar” are way off in outer space. However, others like “Snakes on a Plane,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” and “The Green Mile” provide accurate representation for the movies to which they are attached.

And this certainly is the case with “Something Borrowed,” the new romantic comedy starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield, and John Krasinski. Although the film takes its name from the Emily Giffin novel upon which it is based, the title also is apt because this film borrows myriad clichés from every comedy involving a romantic triangle. Therefore, if you decide to see this  film geared for teen-aged girls, don’t expect anything fresh or original.

As the movie begins, Rachel (Goodwin) walks into a surprise 30th birthday party organized by Darcy (Hudson), her inseparable childhood friend, whose marriage to Dex (Egglesfield) is rapidly approaching. Rachel is a brilliant young New York lawyer, and attended law school with Dex, on whom she had a secret crush. Despite her feelings for Dex, Rachel introduced him to Darcy and urged the two of them to go out. That was six years ago, and now Rachel finds herself scheduled to be Darcy’s maid of honor as her best friend walks down the aisle to marry the man with whom she (Rachel) is desperately in love.

Inevitably Rachel and Dex find themselves drawn together and when Rachel finally confesses her attraction to Dex, he surprises her by saying he feels the same way toward her. And with the love triangle established, the predictable problems arise. Will Dex marry Darcy despite his love for Rachel? Will Rachel betray her best friend by stealing Dex? Can Dex afford to disappoint his wealthy parents, who are set on his marrying Darcy? And what about poor Ethan (Krasinski), Rachel’s good friend with a crush on her?

If there were ever a film deserving of the classification “chick flick,” this is it because it’s rife with screaming, giggling girls and dress fittings ad nauseam. And anyone who can’t predict the final outcome of the film definitely needs to make a trip to Oz for a brain installation from the Wizard.

Despite the hackneyed plot and the embarrassingly predictable ending, the film does have two bright spots in Goodwin and Hudson, both of whom turn in stellar performances in their respectable portrayals of two very different characters.

Throughout their lifelong relationship, Rachel always has deferred to Darcy. Whatever Darcy wants, Darcy gets, and Rachel has accepted this, but when she realizes that she may lose Dex forever, she is torn between taking charge of her own life or once again allowing Darcy to have her way. In the film’s production notes, Goodwin offered an interesting analysis of Rachel.

“Rachel has mapped out her entire life. She lives according to a list of things she would and wouldn’t do. Suddenly, she finds herself sort of nowhere. She’s lonely. So she does something that is off her moral compass…and after that, it’s a bit of a rollercoaster. I was very taken by Rachel, the quintessential nice girl who does some awful things. After a lifetime of avoiding confrontation and not allowing herself to have the kind of experiences that result in growth, she has to reconsider the map she lives by and is forced to change. I wanted to explore that. Rachel has always lived in Darcy’s shadow and, in turn, Darcy has always made her life more full. She loves Dex, but saying yes to Dex means losing Darcy, which is unthinkable, so it’s not something she takes lightly.”

Goodwin is simply irresistible as Rachel, and she succeeds in making us both love her character and sympathize with her problem. Her smile literally lights up the screen, and she just about steals the show.

Hudson is a consummate actress, however, and she is completely at home in the realm of the romantic comedy. She is a natural for the role of Darcy, who is the stereotypical party girl. Of course as Goldie Hawn’s daughter, Hudson was born with comedy in her genes. In the production notes, Hudson explained what drew her to the part of Darcy.

“Simply put, Darcy is all about Darcy. She’s the kind of person who says things we wish we could say, who doesn’t hold back, who thrives on being the center of attention. Playing Darcy meant committing to a character that is extremely ‘out there’ and walking that fine line between what’s funny and endearing and what could easily become unlikable, which is always fun. She’s definitely no angel.”

“Something Borrowed” (It gets a score of six only because of Goodwin and Hudson.) is a film that will appeal to a very specific audience. Young girls between the ages of 12 and 16 probably will enjoy it because of all the wedding preparations and the camaraderie between Rachel and Darcy. As a first-rate adult romantic comedy, however, the film is a complete flop because it’s not funny, and it’s lack of originality is downright insulting. The next time Goodwin and Hudson need money badly enough to sign up for a movie like this, perhaps they should consider borrowing it.

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