Since I wasn’t impressed enough (try at all) by the trailers for Bridesmaids or Priest, my original plan was to review The Bang Bang Club this week. But of course if a movie is more than halfway intelligent my theater either doesn’t get it at all or gets it for a week right before it comes out on DVD. So instead I ended up with Something Borrowed, a standard romantic comedy that I took my mom to for Mother’s Day. It’s based on a romance novel by Emily Griffin, and the plot goes like this:
Rachel, who years ago gave up her almost-boyfriend Dex to her best friend Darcy, gets drunk and starts an affair with him just before their wedding.
Normally I hate romantic comedies where one of the leads is getting married. It makes them seem like such a scumbag for falling in love with this other person while their future spouse is off looking at table linens or whatever. And they always end so unrealistically (with the possible exception of My Best Friend’s Wedding), with the future spouse suddenly deciding they don’t want to get married after all just so the happy ending isn’t soured by their misery. But Something Borrowed wasn’t really like that, which makes it okay in my book.
It helped a lot that director Luke Greenfield and writer Jennie Snyder resisted the urge to turn Something Borrowed into one of those turbo romantic comedies that go charging for the happy ending finish line like an elephant in a horse race. (This is probably more because it’s based on a book than because of anything the two of them did, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.) Something Borrowed has more relationships in it than just the main romance between Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Dex (Colin Egglesfield).
Oh Dex, I’d always dreamed of meeting someone as boring and indecisive as I am!
The friendships between Rachel and Darcy (Kate Hudson) and between Rachel and Ethan (John Krasinski) also get a lot of screen time. Even Darcy and Dex’s joke of a relationship is dealt with. There are also a host of secondary characters, including Claire (Ashley Williams), Ethan’s stalker, and Marcus (Steve Howey), the weird pseudo-teenage perv who is (for some odd reason) Dex’s friend.
Hi Rachel, nice to meet you. I’m going to think of you while I’m jerking off, ‘kay?
In fact, in a lot of ways Rachel and Dex’s relationship is the least interesting part of the story. They’re both boring yuppy lawyers who are afraid to go against the grain, so they spend most of the movie not making decisions, starting with the decision to not say anything when Darcy waltzed into their almost date and took Dex for herself.
DARCY: Yum, he looks just like Tom Cruise. You’re not that attached to him, are you?
DARCY: Good. I’m calling dibs.
DEX: Hey, don’t I get a say in this?
The pervy dumbass things that Marcus says (how did he become friends with Dex??) and the wacky lies Ethan makes up to avoid having to go out with Claire, are much more interesting. I spent most of the movie thinking: “more Ethan, please.”
I’m sorry Claire, I can’t have hot monkey sex with you because I like boys.
Ethan made this movie for me. He’s the only character that was 100% likeable. He’s smart, he cares about his friends, he’s funny, and he’s willing to actually take action when necessary. If he hadn’t been in the movie, I think I would have quickly tired of it. Rachel is a self-pitying carpet. Dex is a scrawny, boring coward. And Darcy is a selfish ho. Emily Griffin’s intention was probably to show that no one is perfect, but I think she went a little too far. For one thing, the way they all frolic about in The Hamptons every weekend is kind of sickening.
I really feel that my horizontal stripes and Dex’s poncey sweater
really mesh well with the snooty trust fund ambiance.
All I can say is thank Sreenwriter (for screenwriter is God) that Darcy is hardly in the movie. She’s one of those center of a attention types who gets everything that she wants because no one else will say no to her. She’s always drunk, always annoying, and her speech on Rachel’s birthday even had more to do with herself than Rachel. Rachel and Darcy have one of those improbable kindergarten-through-adulthood friendships that only happen in books and movies, but as the movie progresses I find it increasingly difficult to believe that Darcy has any friends at all. Needless to say I’m not in a hurry to read the sequel, Something Blue, which is all about Darcy.
Like, Omigod! I know it’s Rachel’s birthday, but let’s all pay attention to ME!
From watching the trailers (hell, from watching the movie!) you might get the impression that Ethan is Rachel’s dark horse love interest – the friend type that she can say anything to and is always there when she needs him. Although this is an accurate description of Ethan, make no mistake: this is a Rachel and Dex movie. It doesn’t matter that Ethan is way more awesome than Dex. It doesn’t matter that Rachel should pick him if she had any sense. Dex is the attractive yuppie, so Dex is the love interest. End of story.
I’m not sure what Emily Griffin and Luke Greenfield intended for me to take away from this movie. Bros over hos? Be more careful who you pick for friends? Always put yourself first, even if it hurts other people? If you have a choice between a cowardly yuppie and a friend you really connect with, you should choose the yuppie and tell your friend to go screw him/her self? Either way, this movie made me think, just not in a good way. But people don’t go to romantic comedies to think. They go for romance and comedy. So is Something Borrowed funny? Yes, actually, it is pretty funny. Is it romantic? Well, yeah, I guess you could say that it is.
So there you have it. Something Borrowed is a good romantic comedy. Go see it if you like romantic comedies. Just don’t expect anything extra.