Definitely not a lot to be desired
By Stephanie Merry
Friday, May 6, 2011
This should go without saying, but the novel-turned-movie “Something Borrowed” clinches it: It is not okay to sleep with the fiance of one’s best friend. What’s odd, and ultimately icky, is how enthusiastically the film attempts to justify doing so.
The sporadically comedic romantic drama, based on Emily Giffin’s best-selling chick-lit trifle, focuses on Rachel White (Ginnifer Goodwin), a successful lawyer who offers herself up as the world’s doormat. Unattached and having just turned 30, Rachel is feeling forlorn, which is compounded by the fact her best friend, Darcy (Kate Hudson), is marrying Rachel’s law school crush.
If Darcy has a redeeming quality, it’s not readily evident. She is a shameless attention-seeker who takes advantage of Rachel’s amenability, decorates her apartment with large-scale, semi-nude photos of herself and concludes phone conversations with “kiss-kiss-kiss.” Her favorite topic of conversation is her own beauty.
After a few drinks, Rachel tells Darcy’s fiance, Dexter (Colin Egglesfield), who looks like a composite of Tom Cruise and a Ken doll, about her longstanding infatuation. Before you know it, the two are in bed and Rachel, who has always been a model best friend, is suddenly the Other Woman.
From there, the action shifts between New York and the Hamptons; things continue to intensify between Rachel and Dexter, all while plans for the nuptials continue unabated. As the summer wears on, Dexter becomes increasingly ambivalent about which woman to choose, while Rachel seems to waver between remorse and heartbreak. Meanwhile, there are happy couples everywhere Rachel looks, and her good friend Ethan (John Krasinski) is giving her a hard time for being such a pushover.
The screenwriters are no puppet masters, and pulling a few heartstrings doesn’t force the audience to wish for Rachel and Dexter’s happily ever after. The reason is simple logic: If Darcy is so terrible, why is Rachel her best friend and Dexter her fiance?
Another obstacle that makes it impossible to invest in these characters is that Dexter turns out to be nothing but a weepy weakling. By the time his father makes him cry with a simple rebuke, you may wonder where his initial attractiveness flitted off to.
The movie’s 103 minutes would be wholly unbearable if it weren’t for Krasinski, who is on the scene with his goofy, bulbous nose and perfect comedic timing to partially redeem the almost unwatchable. He steals the show, as he often does, with the help of the script’s best lines. You might question his role choice if he weren’t such a much-needed source of laughs and voice of reason.
But as Krasinski’s scenes get fewer and farther between, straightforward comedy yields to the unintentional variety. During a recent screening, as Rachel and Dexter shared a post-coital moment of gazing into each other’s eyes, snickers spread through the audience like a rollicking brush fire.
A few laughs ultimately give way to the tiresome realization that these three less-than-likable personalities probably deserve one another. It's just a shame anyone has to watch them figure that out.
Contains sexual situations, crude language and the intimation of drug use.