Dir. Luke Greenfield. USA.

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Something Borrowed is adapted, upon the chick-lit novel of Emily Giffin, by Jennie Snyder.  It stars Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin, Colin Egglesfield and John Krasinski.

Rachel (Goodwin) is thrown a surprise 30th birthday party by her best friend Darcey (Hudson), who is engaged to Dex (Egglesfield), who was Rachel's study partner at New York University when studying law.  At the birthday party, Darcey shows off a video projection of her and Rachel's life together, best friends forever but with Darcey playing a more prominent role.  It appears that whilst Darcey is the life and soul of any party, Rachel is lucky to be invited.

After the party, and after Darcey has been taken home by Dex, he returns looking for Darcey's handbag.  Dex and Rachel then have one more drink which leads to a clinch in the back of a cab home, and them sleeping together.  Whilst Rachel puts it down to wedding jitters, flashbacks convince us that Rachel and Dex were meant to be together and they missed their chance after their final exam, when Darcey jumped in and practically threw herself at Dex, as Rachel stepped aside and let Darcey get what she wanted - as she has done all her life.  A point raised by her best friend Ethan (Krasinski), who takes a dislike to Darcey even though they have been friends since childhood.

Dex and Rachel continue their clandestine arrangement over the summer switching between the city of New York and the beaches of the Hamptons, whilst wedding plans carry on regardless.  Ethan tells Rachel to tell him to leave Darcey, but Dex being the Ralph Lauren model from the Hamptons (to quote Ethan) has no backbone and cannot call off a wedding he does not want to go through.

This leads to generic themes of romantic comedy with declarations of love in the rain, nostalgia of eternal first love and the youth it arrived at with and a coffee table soundtrack.

That last paragraph may sound like a bit of a dismissal of the film, but the film is above average thanks in part to the performances of Goodwin (wholesome idealism) and Krasinski (sarcastic bite) whose to and fro dialogue when together is better and more believable than the wooden Egglesfield.  As for Hudson, so often the poster girl of the 21st century rom-com, has gone the other way and instead of playing the put upon woman, is here the woman who puts upon.  Her Darcey, is loud, brash, egotistical and a believer of her own hype - nevermind, the borderline and worrying alcoholic dependency of her character.

Some moments are laugh out loud funny, such as the badminton game that brings to the surface the competitive nature of all the characters and the fear and grip a secret can hold over a group - this is thanks to Krasinski, so used to working in an ensemble with the rat-a-tat delivery of dialogue, whilst everytime Hudson talks you feel she wants the camera still so she can be seen and heard.  Also kudos to Steve Howey as Marcus, Dex's cousin, a man stuck in a timewarp of late 1990s surfer dude persona, but gets good mileage from his nympho role and bad boy with a gentle heart.

At the end, characters all end in happiness but sometimes the script feels a little labourious (a typical trend of current rom-coms) and feels back to front - the moment when we see the chemistry of best friends Rachel and Darcey doing a Salt n Pepa dance routine in perfect synchronisation comes too far and too late into the film; there is never any evidence as to why Ethan and Darcey are at each other's throats and the sub-plot of Ethan being 'gay' to stave off a girl's advances, is never fully explored for comic potential.  The film may have something borrowed, but it certainly has nothing new.

Jamie Garwood

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