Film Review: ‘Something Borrowed’

Film Review: ‘Something Borrowed’

Buyer beware: if you haven’t read Emily Giffin’s book, it is likely that this film adaptation will fall flat. Those who have read the novel will be pleasantly surprised to see the world of Rachel, Darcy, and Dex wonderfully brought to life. This is the rare book adaptation that was perfectly cast, and should please the fans.

However, without the back story of the novel, you are likely to be confused or even annoyed by the love/hate relationship of the title characters. For the uninitiated, Something Borrowed is the tale of Rachel, an attorney who is not particularly happy with her job, and is perpetually single. She has lived in the shadow of her best friend Darcy, a beautiful party girl who lives a charmed existence, for most of her life.

Rachel became pals with Dex during law school, and has nursed a crush on him since day one. Lacking the confidence to divulge her true feelings to Dex, Rachel steps aside and lets a romance brew between Darcy and Dex. It’s a decision that will come back to haunt her.

When Darcy and Dex become engaged, Rachel realizes that he is the one that got away, but it is too late. Or is it?  Rachel and Dex begin having an affair behind Darcy’s back, but since Darcy is such a self absorbed twit, you don’t really feel that bad for her. She has a passive-aggressive co-dependent relationship with Rachel, and part of Rachel’s story arc is finally growing up and asserting herself, rather than serving as Darcy’s personal doormat for the rest of her life.

I think women will find this relatable; men, not so much. Every woman I know (even the ones smart enough to know better) has suffered through some type of toxic friendship.  Since Darcy and Rachel have been been friends since childhood, there is a lot of junk for Rachel to sift through before she sees the truth.

Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love) plays Rachel. Only in Hollywood could she be considered the “plain” one who has never had a boyfriend. Aside from that silliness, Goodwin does a good job conveying Rachel’s insecurities and guilt. She’s wholesome, yet sweetly sexy and smart and it is conceivable that Dex would start realizing the error of his ways.

Though I have not been a fan of Kate Hudson’s post –Almost Famous career, I have to say that she knocks it out of the park with her portrayal of Darcy. She is exactly as I imagined her (despite a hair color change).  She is beautiful, vacuous, selfish, and not too bright. She’s the kind of girl all the fraternity guys fall for in college, until they wise up and realize that they can’t spend any extended amount of time with her, much less the rest of their life.

John Krasinksi has quickly become Hollywood’s go-to guy for scene stealing. Last year he was hilarious in a minor role in It’s Complicated. Here he is sweet, funny, and charming as Ethan, one of Rachel’s reliable friends who always is there to clean up the mess that Darcy leaves in her wake.  Ashley Williams plays Claire, a somewhat pathetic hot mess who is hopelessly in love with Ethan, who wants nothing to do with her. Her role could easily have been reduced to a caricature, but Williams brings some surprising warmth to the role.

Then there is Colin Egglesfield as Dex. Good lord, is he handsome. I’m embarrassed to admit that I can’t even give you an accurate assessment of his acting abilities, because every time he appeared on the screen I was reduced to a blushing, giggly school girl. Shame on me.

The film is not particularly great, but I found it enjoyable. It’s a nice piece of fluff that is full of cliches.  Why is it that filmmakers seem to be convinced that anytime women aggregate at someone’s house they spontaneously break into a dance routine? Darcy and Rachel perform a choreographed dance routine (in Rachel’s apartment) to Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s “Push It” for absolutely no reason at all. Really?  That’s lazy, and insulting. I’ve yet to encounter this phenomenon in real life, despite the fact that I have actually visited several of my friends’ houses, on multiple occasions.

There are too many of those worn out tropes to warrant a mainstream recommendation, but I still maintain that fans of the book will have a lot of fun.