D: Luke Greenfield. DP: Charles Minsky. W: Jennie Snyder Urman. Starring: Kate Hudson/Ginnifer Goodwin/Colin Egglesfeld/John Krasinski/Steve Howey/Ashley Williams/Geoff Pierson/Jill Eikenberry. (Based on Emily Giffin’s novel of the same name.)
This past weekend witnessed the sad return of Kate Hudson to the romantic comedy stage and proved that there is not a thin line between bad and worse.
Right away Something Borrowed plops its audience into its story of Darcy (Kate Hudson) and Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) friendship. The whole relationship can be summed up in the opening scenes as Hudson throws a party for Goodwin’s birthday and makes it all about herself. But if that isn’t enough Goodwin harbors a big crush on soon to be Mr. Hudson Colin Egglesfeld’s Dex. The rest is not even worth an explanation. Hudson parades around the film in mini skirts and hair twirls and is absolutely forgettable. Goodwin, the more likable and recently better actress, does her best, but her Rachel is still flat against an even flatter story. Egglesfeld’s Dex is hopeless to be likeable due to his circumstances, but all he has to is smile and look good, which he does. The only redeemable character is Goodwin’s friend Ethan, played by John Krasinksi. Amidst all the Hamptons visits (because obliviously only rom-coms happen in NYC or LA) he offers funny bits of dialogue and expressions that are comic relief from the film as a whole experience. Most audiences will almost catch themselves waiting for him to look at the screen, like his character Jim on NBC’s The Office, and say, “really? are they actually saying this shit?”
The script also suffers from too many obvious plot holes and inconsistencies. Some issues that weigh on characters minds in acts one and two, have altogether disappeared by act three allowing the decisions they want, to happen. Also, the lack of character’s basic back stories, Hudson’s parents never even make an appearance or are referred to, which is hard to believe when their seemingly only child is getting married. Goodwin seems to be family-less as well. But regardless the bottom line is that the audience is never given any family context for this impending marriage except Egglesfeld’s Dex. And even that family dynamic feels absolutely archaic. And the book and script was written by a woman?
Something Borrowed is such an unfortunate example of what most audiences expect from films sadly labeled as romantic comedies. The films present unrealistic, now considered even silly, moments on rooftops, scattered with lights and sexy men that have about as much personality as the door next door they come in and out of. And it is not to say that there is anything wrong with romance or comedy, or “meet-cutes” at bookshops, its just that audiences, especially female driven one’s have changed. Escapism is still alive and thriving, but that should not shy filmmakers away from actually addressing the complicated matters of love, romance, and relationships. And in the case of this film, female friendships.
Even a film like last year’s Morning Glory proved that there can be comedies about women that aren’t centered on romance. Even Love and Other Drugs tried to push open the world of sex and relationships, even if it did poorly with it. And most recently How Do You Know successfully tackled a comedy about a woman at her life crossroads with the relationships embedded with her feelings on her career and expected life path. But even if none of those films worked on all levels they at least switched gears for a minute. Sadly, Something Borrowed, where one of the female character’s careers is neither mentioned or seems to exist and the others is the butt of jokes, will perpetuate films like this. And the idea that a whole acting career can be made from looking good and giggling.