Movie Review: Something Borrowed (2011)

Something Borrowed review
Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin in Something Borrowed
Photo: Warner Bros.

Something Borrowed centers on a love triangle conjured in Hell. Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Dex (Colin Egglesfield) have had a crush on one another for years now, but you’d never know it considering Dex is engaged to Rachel’s lifelong best friend Darcy (Kate Hudson). However, feelings can’t be held in check forever as this film kicks off with Dex and Rachel climbing in bed together, offering up a night of sex that could fill a feature length romantic comedy. Oh joy!

Your first instinct may be to say, “Well damn, Rachel and Dex are terrible people to do that to Darcy.” But wait, you haven’t met Darcy yet. You see, Darcy is a self-centered and egotistical shrew of a woman you wouldn’t want to spend more than ten minutes with. It is this negative aspect that gives the audience pause. You’re now beginning to think, “Well screw Darcy! She’s a terrible person, she deserves to be cheated on!” Because that’s how life works right? Well, I’m here to tell you, as hateful as Darcy is for the personality she puts on display, Dex and Rachel are equally offensive as they can’t seem to exist without someone else making all the decisions for them not to mention they’ve invited Darcy into their lives and tolerated her to the point one calls her her best friend and the other is engaged to her.

Darcy may be an awful person, but Rachel tolerates Darcy’s domineering attitude and Dex is a wuss that can’t make a decision for himself. These two are destined to be miserable for the rest of their lives. That is, unless a movie can be written based on a best-selling novel that will allow Dex and Rachel to finally stand up for themselves and get what they “deserve.” Oh please, tell me Something Borrowed will be that movie!

Director Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door) operates with the dexterity of a surgeon using only his feet, and screenwriter Jennie Snyder (“Lipstick Jungle”, “90210”) has managed to pack her lifetime of primetime soap opera writing into this 103-minute travesty. It’s a perfect storm of incompetence as they’ve created a film in which the three lead characters are either ignorant, hateful, arrogant or all three. Add to that John Krasinski (“The Office”), the film’s one saving grace until they decide to throw his platonic relationship with Rachel under the bus, and you have a film that hates its characters just as much as it hates its audience.

I can’t tell you how frustrated I get watching a film in which the characters treat one another with absolute disrespect and yet the characters getting the brunt of the hatred decide to stick it out, making excuses for a lifetime of ill-treatment. Yet, at the same time, complain about it. Krasinski’s character makes an apt comment about midway through, saying something to the effect that he’s tired of hearing the “Daddy beats me because he loves me” excuse. I felt his frustration throughout this entire film and if this were a drama in which lessons were learned at the end or if there were actually some moral to the story being told I could understand this tactic. But as it is, it’s just an annoyance and one that gets worse and worse up until the final scene where I can’t for the life of me figure out what Greenfield and Snyder wanted me to take away.

Beyond the story at hand there’s also a mixture of cooky characters thrown in from both sides. Dex’s friend Marcus (Steve Howey) is a walking hard-on with little intelligence to speak of and Claire (Ashley Williams) is a nitwit that can’t take a hint. And now that I think about it, outside of Krasinski’s character (who is sadly excellent and doesn’t belong in this travesty), all of these characters combine to represent virtually all aspects of society that routinely annoy people on a daily basis.

Looking into my crystal ball this is what I can see happening with Something Borrowed. It will be dismissed by the majority of critics. It will then be dubbed a “chick flick” by many of those critics as well as the audience that pays to see it, but this is a tired argument and nothing more than an excuse. “Chick flick” used to refer to films that promised a romantic core and an emotional connection men didn’t seem to respond to, but females did. This I can understand and, actually, I like to think I connect with more of those films than most men are given credit for.

However, when a film like Something Borrowed throws women under the bus, presents characters that are not only dumb, but just plain mean and then it is defended as a chick flick, that borders on self-hating.

Audiences have come to accept what’s placed in front of them because it is all that is offered. Hollywood shouldn’t treat its audience like prisoners. You have a choice. You haven’t been sent to cinematic jail. Don’t accept movies that don’t respect your intelligence. Watch a movie at home and wait for one that respects you as much as you deserve. Something Borrowed is being offered to female audiences as the alternative to Thor during its opening weekend. Yes, it’s an alternative, but not an alternative you have to accept.