Mark Reviews Movies

Something Borrowed


1 Star (out of 4)

Director: Luke Greenfield

Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield, John Krasinski, Steve Howey, Ashley Williams, Geoff Pierson, Jill Eikenberry

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content including dialogue, and some drug material)

Running Time: 1:43

Release Date: 5/6/11

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Review by Mark Dujsik | May 5, 2011

The heroine of Something Borrowed doesn't even realize that her problem is that she is incapable of making decisions until another character, who also suffers from the same flaw (When he eventually decides to move to another country, that apparently negates everything else that shows he's as indecisive as his friend), tells her that's the cause of her current crisis. It eventually becomes a revelatory moment for her, and for us, it's a quick sigh of relief. Here is a character—no matter how hypocritical he is and how much more so he later turns out to be—who sees through the whole situation and just flat-out says, "Stop."

The script (by Jennie Snyder, based on the novel by Emily Giffin) is without any self-awareness about what this friend says. Yes, even after the point has been made crystal-clear to her, Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) continues along the same path, refusing to ask the most basic question of her love interest or have the difficult conversation with her best friend Darcy (Kate Hudson), to whom Rachel's secret paramour is engaged.

The guy in question is Dex (Collin Egglesfield), a particularly spineless individual. He says he loves both Rachel and Darcy, though that's hard to believe. When he sleeps with Rachel one night as his wedding approaches, he holds Rachel at bay, continuing the laughing, playful pre-marriage bliss with Darcy. He doesn't say a word to Darcy about his one-night stand with Rachel, because, at first, he and Rachel decide it's for the best. When it picks up into something more—phone calls and meetings behind Darcy's back—that's when he really, really starts looking like a cad to both of these women.

The excuse, of course, is that Darcy is an egocentric control freak, who takes the opportunity of a surprise birthday party for Rachel to talk about how anxious and giddy she is about her own upcoming nuptials. Flashbacks show how Rachel and Dex had a crush on each other while they were in law school, leading to a post-exams outing to a bar, where—sitting across from each other—their hands almost barely touch. Darcy stepped in, joked with her friend about when the two were going to actually go out on a real date, and, after Rachel, in a fit of nervous insecurity, said they were only friends, decided to ask Dex out herself.

We suspect at first that since all involved have graduated and started careers that at least a couple years have passed between Rachel and Dex's initial infatuation. Then, a detail arises: All of this drama has been ongoing for six years.

For six years, an unspoken love triangle has been hanging in the air between these people, and in six years, nothing has come up. Dex has wooed, dated, and proposed to Darcy, while still having deep, unabated feelings for Rachel. Rachel has watched all of this unfold, apparently heartbroken and clinging to the idea of being with Dex. There are huge chunks of information missing here.

If Darcy is the obnoxious egomaniac we see her being, what exactly does Dex see in her? The screenplay tries to level some deep-seated guilt upon him; his mother (Jill Eikenberry) has been ill for years. He tells Rachel how, when he was younger, he used to imagine that if he ever made mom unhappy, he would lose her. Well, mom is thrilled at the prospect of the wedding, so he doesn't want to disappoint her (It's best not to bring up his dad (Geoff Pierson), who can tell what's happening between his son and Rachel and threatens to exclude him from the family fortune if it continues). What about all those years before the engagement announcement, though?

The complications and delays unfold just as we would expect them to (Rachel tries to make Dex jealous; Darcy almost finds out a few times), and only Rachel's friend Ethan (John Krasinski) has the insight to echo the audience's annoyance. "Make a decision," he tells her. Dex is only toying with you, he points out. Of course, Ethan has his own baggage: He pretends he's gay to keep a clingy woman at bay and reveals just how indecisive he has been about his own feelings toward Rachel. At least, though, he has a point.

He only, ultimately, reminds us of how ineffective Something Borrowed is. Like so many romantic comedies, it believes the drama is in contrived conflict.

Copyright © 2011 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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