By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
It’s less something old than it is something new, but this Something Borrowed may make some folks blue, especially those seeking a formulaic romcom.
It’s a romantic comedy about a woman who falls in love with (or falls into bed with, only to discover that she’s already in love with) her best friend’s fiancé.
Yep, the something that’s borrowed this time is a someone — the husband-to-be. And “borrowing” doesn’t exactly describe what’s going on here if he’s never to be returned, does it?
Ginnifer Goodwin (second from left in photo) plays Rachel, the unfulfilled Manhattan lawyer who’s always been outshone by, and thus stayed in the shadow of, outgoing Darcy, played by Kate Hudson, her BFF since grade school and at whose upcoming wedding Rachel is to serve, as expected, as the maid of honor.
Maid of what? Oh, that’s right: honor.
Anyway, tipsy on her 30th birthday — a surprise party that turns out to be a lot more surprising than anyone attending could have imagined — wallflower Rachel wakes up in the bed of Dex, a fellow lawyer played by Colin Egglesfield (far right), a guy she has secretly desired since they attended law school together.
One complication, though: Dex just happens to be engaged to Darcy, and Rachel reveals their secret to another close friend of hers, Ethan, played by John Krasinski (far left), who’s got a secret of his own on the back burner.
It turns out that Dex has strong feelings for Rachel as well, which means Rachel must referee a tug-a-war between her heart and her conscience.
Based on the 2004 best-seller of the same name by Emily Giffin, Jessie Snyder Urman’s script maps out the expected sexual geometry and fills in backstories with flashbacks, but takes the unusual approach of having or letting or allowing or enabling the audience to root for the character who is, at least on the surface, doing something wrong: she’s apparently trying to steal her best friend’s fella.
Director Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door, The Animal) treats the mousy, retiring Rachel character so sympathetically, and lets Hudson’s irritating, self-absorbed, and manipulative Darcy come off as such a pill — a pill who essentially stole Dex from Rachel in the first place — that we can’t help wanting to see Rachel granted her wish, even though we would normally see her actions as a flat-out betrayal.
Instead, we find ourselves siding with the cheater rather than with the victim, and wondering whether, because Rachel and Dex would appear to be soulmates, Rachel’s otherwise questionable behavior is therefore justifiable.
The main ingredient here is Goodwin, who is immensely likable and believable in her biggest and most actualized performance to date — and as the film’s only fully realized character.
And Krasinski scores with his natural reacting ability in a shiny supporting role that garners most of the film’s biggest laughs.
Hudson wrestles her role to a draw, a commendable achievement given how entitled and off-putting she is supposed to be. And Egglesfield brings so little to the table that he makes the work of the women acting opposite him that much more impressive.
But this remains a good win for Goodwin.
So we’ll fall for 2½ stars out of 4 for Something Borrowed, a whoops-wrong-soulmate romp that takes an entertaining trot around the bridal path.