Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Darcy (Kate Hudson) have been best friends for all of their lives, though Darcy has time and again bogarted the spotlight all for herself. This is made obstinately clear in an opening scene during Rachel’s 30th birthday party in which most of Darcy’s congratulatory speech is more about herself than who it is directed toward. So what happens when Rachel does not build up the courage to ask out Dex (Colin Egglesfield), her crush from law school? Darcy asks him out herself. Funny; I would have thought that Rachel’s persistent googly eyes toward Dex would have been a clear giveaway that that is a big no-no for her best friend to do.
Fast forward a few years and we see that Darcy and Dex are engaged, much to Rachel’s dismay. But matters are thrown for a loop when Rachel and Dex both confess their feelings for each other after a few drinks and spend the night together. Now they have to hide the truth from Darcy, find a way around the love they still have for each other and live with the relational crimes they have committed. The only trustworthy person to help Rachel with the problem is her longtime platonic friend Ethan (John Krasinski).
The two good things going for “Something Borrowed” are two of its lead actors. John Krasinski provides easily the most valuable character in the film even if the script has absolutely no big plans in his favor. Being the voice of reason for Rachel, Ethan’s attitude is sardonic without being mean-spirited and sympathetic without being conspicuously so. And Goodwin, who I thought was the only good thing about “He’s Just Not That Into You,” has an attractive onscreen presence that does her well for at least a few early moments.
But “Something Borrowed” is one of those movies where I did not know who I should be siding with, no matter how many attempts it makes to persuade me. I think the filmmakers want the audience to root for Rachel, but that would advocate cheating and dishonesty to her best friend as a result. Ditto for Dex, whose offers zero substantial contribution to a resolve and gets by solely on his good looks. Later on, certain truths are discovered that make people out to be shallower than they were initially thought to be. And close to the end, I just didn’t care what would happen to these characters.
Kate Hudson may put on a good performance in making her character the most narcissistic and unlikable person, but to what credit? She makes obnoxious comments, exercises superiority over everybody else and has not an independent thought in her head. At one point, she teases Rachel for enrolling in law school and broadening her horizons while she goes out to parties and pounds drink after drink every night. And what’s worse, the way the script plays out, it is like it wants us to hate her one minute, empathize with her the next, rinse and repeat. The audience is truly in for an emotional rollercoaster if they are that easily swayed.
So with this kind of personality, what did Dex see in Darcy that made him want to propose to her in the first place? This issue is brought up in a question from Rachel at one point, but is never really answered. It’s a legitimate question! Also, what makes him want to stay with her in a later scene? Why does Rachel so demurely deny the potential offer of Dex asking her out when she obviously wants him to? What is the deal with the Marcus character (Steve Howey)? And if you think these are contrivances, wait until you hear about what sort of impact the marriage may have on Dex’s mother’s (Jill Eikenberry) mental health.
Though ironically the movie does not feel as borrowed as most other romantic comedy scripts these days, there really is not anything special about “Something Borrowed.” The characters and dialogue are not strong enough, the plot devices are questionable and the moral soundness is in a precarious position no matter which person you decide to follow. But hey, at least it has two good things going for it. That’s at least two more than “The Bounty Hunter” or “The Back-Up Plan” could ever hope to have.