“Something Borrowed” is the kind of prefabricated comedy that Warner Bros. thinks young college-age women will appreciate, perhaps enough they’ll bring along their dates, fiancés, or husbands. If those kind of gals are pretty and demure or rough, over-boisterous, and oblivious to their best friends’ best/worst intentions toward their significant other, perhaps this second feature from Luke Greenfield, who directed the more enjoyable and edgier “The Girl Next Door,” will click with its target demographic. If you want my opinion—and I am way outside (think Pluto) the intended audience—forget this often crass effort about the double-headed love gymnastics involving BFFs in the Big Apple. It’s just not all that appealing a rom-com.
Of course the film’s title reflects the attractive man (Colin Egglesfield) that one of the stars (Ginnifer Goodwin) meets in law school before he is snatched away by her high-wired best friend (Kate Hudson). This adaptation by Jennie Snyder Urman of the best-selling book of 2004 by Emily Giffin emphasizes Urman’s pedigree. The cloying heart on the script’s sleeve is a mark with heavy bearing from her various production capacities on The CW’s “90210” and “Gilmore Girls,” ABC’s “Men in Trees” and “Lipstick Jungle” on NBC.
The film begins with the surprise 30th birthday party tossed by Darcy (Hudson) for her BFF Rachel (Goodwin), falling 61 days before Darcy’s marriage to the well-bred and rich Dexter Thaylor III, Rachel’s former study partner. Despite the simmering attraction Dex and Rachel had for each other, neither acted on it. Darcy made her move, grabbed the guy, while Rachel, rather than lose a friend, despaired in her unhappy and single in New York fate. The film covers the over-extended tug-of-hearts strategy the forlorn lovers contemplate as the wedding day approaches. Viewers get filled in at appropriate moments with informative flashbacks that frame the main characters’ ever-intensifying relationships.
Hudson seems to be cloning the type of comedy roles her mom (Goldie Hawn) perfected decades ago. Unfortunately her overbearing, center-stage-demanding character here is just too unbelievable as marriage material. Darcy barrels forward in her own mind’s abandon, not sure she’s actually feeling love, but, as she confides in the awe-struck Rachel, what the heck? And what future bride (especially one as high strung as Darcy) would be picking out her wedding dress less than two months before her marriage day? Not that the handsome but caught-in-the-headlights groom, who wavers more than a bowl of quivering Jell-o, appears to be a great catch. Goodwin, an under-appreciated actress who just completed her stint on HBO’s polygamist drama series “Big Love,” just needs the right script to boost her above such mundane material as “Something Borrowed.”
Ah, but thank goodness there’s John Krasinski in the cast. His Ethan, cut from his same common sense based, double-taking character of Jim Halpert on the hit NBC show “The Office,” offers the best comic bits in the film, even if his character gets abused by Darcy’s weird and desperately love-struck friend Claire (Ashley Williams) when the action shifts to a summer beach house in the Hamptons, which Ethan calls “a zombie movie directed by Ralph Lauren.” He’s the calm center for Rachel in the frantic pre-marriage storm, circling around the irksome wedding carousel as the friend of both women, yet unable to grab his own brass ring. I guess that’s another film. Instead, he realizes that Rachel is “the sister I never had.” Yeah, any romantic leanings in that direction would seem rather icky, eh?
Frankly if you can hold off a week, wait for “Bridesmaids,” the best R-rated comedy of the year.