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
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.