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Weddings are clogging the cinema calendar these days with invitations coming in for Jumping the Broom, Bridesmaids, Love, Wedding, Marriage and Something Borrowed. What these films also share in common is a comic ineptitude that makes you wish for Divorce American Style. But one invitation at a time since Something Borrowed is the clichéd, predictable and exasperating movie under review here. The problem with this one is that of forcing rote characters into tired formulas that call to the mind the worst sort of TV sitcoms. All that’s missing is a laugh track.
Something Borrowed doesn’t so much borrow from other movies as settle into a comfort zone of raising provocative questions regarding love, commitment and marriage only to dismiss them with a brush of a hand as so much dandruff. Box office will reflect audiences’ willingness to tolerate such laziness.
The really odd thing about all the characters in Something Borrowed is how much they dislike or manipulate one another. The engaged couple is clearly mismatched, the “best friends” friendship of bride and bridesmaid is a one-way relationship and everyone on their periphery either mock or take pains to avoid each other. Fun times.
Darcy (Kate Hudson), a blonde party-girl with an overpowering sense of entitlement, has stolen away an infatuated law-school classmate, Dex (Colin Egglesfield), from Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin), supposedly her best friend since childhood. Now on the eve of the nuptials, Dex and Rachel impulsively sleep together and rekindle all those glorious law-school memories. Gosh, what to do? Well, call off the wedding and rethink things. Alas, if that happens there goes the movie so everyone dithers so much Hamlet looks like a decisive guy.
Surrounding this soap opera are such best enemies as Ethan (John Krasinski), Rachel’s confidant and secret admirer, who seems to exist for reaction shots; Dex’s best mate Marcus (Steve Howey), a loathsome skirt-chaser that many of the film’s women tolerate if not favor to the point of making them look daft; and Darcy’s friend Claire (Ashley Williams), whose pursuit of Ethan makes him willing to pretend to be gay.
Every weekend these folks head for the Hamptons for thoroughly awful get-togethers. This does, however, gives rise to — spoiler alert — the movie’s one and only witty line. Ethan declares the Hamptons are “a zombie movie directed by Ralph Lauren.”
If only screenwriter Jennie Synder Urman had further pursued this sort of wit in a script based on Emily Giffin’s novel. If only director Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door) had relied less on music cues and more on his cast to tell this admittedly lame story.
The film most reminiscent of Something Borrowed was the quite enjoyable Steve Carell-Juliette Binoche romantic comedy Dan in Real Life. What separates these two films, besides the creation of real characters in reasonably real situations in the latter, is an insistence that the two romantic leads in Something Borrowed once had their chance at romance and blew it only to drag a somewhat innocent person into a three-way that makes everyone look pathetic. (Actually Hudson’s character is anything but innocent so the word is used here in the loosest possible sense.)
Consequently, you don’t really like anyone here. No one deserves to be happy given the bad decisions, wrong values and susceptibility to outside pressure all the characters suffer from.
Production values are Ralph Lauren slick without a zombie in sight.
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