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Something Borrowed (PG-13)


05/05/11
By Amy Diaz adiaz@hippopress.com



Two horrible women set feminism back 50 years by engaging in a love triangle with a wet dishrag of a man in Something Borrowed, a thoroughly hateable romantic comedy.

I guess what makes this a comedy is that every horrible person in this terrible movie is horrible in their own way. That’s, like, what Tolstoy said, isn’t it?

Darcy (Kate Hudson) is a beautiful woman with some unspecified career but the amazing ability to make seemingly sane people like her and to make every situation, including her best friend’s birthday, about her. Rachel (Gennifer Goodwin) is that best friend. She is a beautiful woman who is a lawyer but is miserable with her job for unspecified reasons and deeply covets Darcy’s fiancé Dex (Colin Egglesfield). Rachel and Dex went to law school together but never got together despite the fact that flashbacks show them as madly in love. Apparently Dex never made a move because he was a spineless mute and Rachel never made a move because how could a person like him ever love a person like her? “A person like her” being, I don’t know, a brunette or a woman who reads or someone with bangs — the movie doesn’t say what her horrible flaw is and I can’t tell because Gennifer Goodwin is a FREAKING MOVIE STAR. So we’ve got a situation where a very good looking man and a very good looking woman can’t get together because they’re both too stupid for one of them to say “hey, I like you, let’s hang out” and then when Darcy comes along and says basically that to Dex his lips are, like, sealed with crazy glue and he can’t say “you’re pretty but I’m really into your friend” like any man in the world who wasn’t just happy settling for Kate Hudson would say. That was all in the past, but now we’re in the present where Darcy and Dex are just months away from their wedding, Rachel is silently pining and Darcy makes the surprise 30th birthday party she arranges for Rachel all about her, Darcy. And despite this and the pointing out of this by actually nice, kinda fun guy Ethan (John Krasinski), Rachel continues to pine for Dex and feel some weird kind of smug inferiority to Darcy.
Die, movie characters, die.

After the party, a hammered Darcy sleeps it off at home and Rachel and Dex find themselves out for a drink. Rachel gets a little tipsy and lets it slip that she had a crush for Dex in law school. And then they kiss and then they wake up naked in bed. And everybody with at least one working eye and half a working brain cell has now figured out that Dex is also pining for Rachel but a whole lot of nonsense goes into her not noticing it and then them trying to forget what happened and then some weird arrangement wherein they are together trying to “figure out what this is” (they had sex and enjoyed it — what, was there a calculus problem in that that I missed?) while Darcy and Dex are still engaged. So we get a humiliated Rachel watching Dex be kissed and sexy-danced-on by Darcy even while he sends her “I heart you” looks and gets all jealous when other guys hit on her. Because even though she is obviously a repellant woman who isn’t good enough for the increasingly jerkface-seeming weasel Dex, every man in this movie is in love with her.
Every. Single. Freaking. Guy.

A psychologist could retire on the money it would take to get Rachel up to a healthy self-esteem level, not to mention the talk therapy it would take to convince Dex that “not bumming out your parents” is a stupid reason to go ahead with a wedding you don’t want and to explain to Darcy that the world contains not only her but other people as well.

Actually, for all that Darcy is clearly set up as the villain — and, yes, one could make a strong case that she is, perhaps, the Devil — she might actually be the healthiest person in the movie. She liked Dex and so she asked him out — she didn’t just stare at him with her stupid eyes.

This movie could have been an interesting examination of female friendship (the only really tolerable parts are the few scenes where it shows us the Darcy-Rachel friendship in action and hints at the bond that made them BFFs in the first place). Or it could have been a guilty-pleasure love story about a woman coming out of her shell (it probably should have given that woman a shell but, hey, details). But it was neither of these. Nor was it a frothy little romantic comedy on the order of Bridget Jones’ Diary (or any other movie made from a Jane Austen book), though I could tell it wanted to be that. I even don’t hate the wanting-your-best-friend’s-guy setup; there’s plenty of good soapy possibility in it. Overlay the modern lack of reasonable impediment to romance on the Jane Austen restraint-and-duty bone structure, however, and the result is a story where everybody acts in insane ways and the female characters all end up humiliated by a truly weak and loathsome man. The man Dex is at the end of the movie, after all his Rachel-or-Darcy indecisiveness, is not a romantic hero. He is not a guy who seems worth having been pined for.
And that’s just the big stuff I hate about this movie.

There’s also little stuff, like the fact that everybody is supposed to be in their 30s but acts like they’re 14. (Rachel even dresses a bit like a gawky teenager.) Or that everybody seems weirdly wealthy despite only Rachel having a visible job. Or the sections that take place in the Hamptons for no reason other than to show off more fancy settings. Or the fact that a ’90s cover band is a plot point (’90s cover band? Is ’90s retro now? Did you just call me “old,” movie?).  Or the sudden and unnecessary use of slo-mo. Even at less than two hours, the last thing I wanted in this insufferable movie was for any of the mo to become any more slo.

Cruel and insufferable — that’s how this movie felt, all the more so because you’re expecting something so much lighter and sweeter from this candy-colored genre. F

Rated PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue, and some drug material. Directed by Luke Greenfield and written by Jennie Snyder from a novel by Emily Griffin, Something Borrowed is an hour and 43 minutes long and is distributed in wide release by Warner Bros. It opens on Friday, May 6.






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