The rest of the movie feels like a lesson in anti-feminism and how women should not behave when trying to find the right man.
Something Borrowed is one big mess of a movie. Director Luke Greenfield, whose The Girl Next Door was surprisingly entertaining, seems overwhelmed by the material and it results in the entire movie feeling rushed and without a clear style or vision. This could be a result of trying to create a film that appeals to women and fans of Emily Giffin’s hugely popular novel, on which the movie is based. This is a giant shift in audience focus from his previous film, which targeted young, horny men and teenage boys. Still, Greenfield is doing far too much to tap into what he thinks women will want to watch.
Rachel White (Ginnifer Goodwin) is an attorney living in New York City who, on her 30th birthday, begins to question if she will ever find the right man. Not surprisingly, the right man, Dex (Colin Egglesfield), is already in Rachel’s life and is engaged to her best friend, Darcy (Kate Hudson). After the two realize that they have feelings for one another, they sleep together and have the expected “I-can’t-believe-this-happened-now-it’s-awkward” moments around each other and Darcy. Meanwhile, Rachel, as Darcy’s maid of honor, must still help plan the wedding all the while pretending that nothing happened with Dex.
Greenfield and screenwriter Jennie Snyder tell the history of Rachel and Dex’s relationship through strategically placed, almost dreamlike flashbacks, a la Slumdog Millionaire. Through these scenes, we are supposed to feel bad for Rachel as she lets Dex begin seeing Darcy, but she comes off as less than sympathetic because of her lack of a spine or any self-respect. We’re supposed to resent Darcy for “stealing” her true love, but at least Darcy goes after what she wants. The rest of the movie feels like a lesson in anti-feminism and how women should not behave when trying to find the right man.
While Goodwin and Hudson are both very good in their respective roles (especially Hudson, who you really dislike by the end of the movie), Egglesfield drags down the curve by destroying every scene in which he appears. His monotone delivery and blank stare show about as much emotion as a box of cereal. This man should never be allowed to “act” in a movie again. He should be happy if he can get a gig as good as “the Old Spice Guy.”
John Krasinski also appears in the film as the completely unnecessary, yet welcomed, Ethan, Rachel’s best guy friend. He is the only character to offer any semblance of a moral compass and acts as support for Rachel while she struggles with her predicament. He also has the movie’s only truly funny lines. Though not too far from his character on The Office, Krasinski does a good job as Ethan and is surprisingly convincing in the movie’s more serious scenes.
Fans of the book will probably enjoy Something Borrowed because of the attractive actors cast in the film and the Sex and the City vibe Greenfield attempts to employ but ultimately fails to execute. This isn’t the worst adaptation of “chick lit” to come clunking out of the Hollywood machine, but it definitely can’t be called a success in any way. | Matthew F. Newlin