Directed by: Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door)
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield, John Krasinski, Steve Howey, Ashley Williams
Having been subjected to the seemingly interminable crapfest that is Something Borrowed, I decided to check Kate Hudson’s filmography to confirm a suspicion. And I was right—the last time she was in a really good movie was in 2000 in Almost Famous. That’s a long time to tread water. Either Hudson is remarkably tenacious, or she simply hates us and makes these movies to get back at us. I’m inclined toward the latter after Something Borrowed.
Modern romantic comedies usually come one of two ways. First, there are the really good ones—Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Love Actually (2003), Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008) etc.—that are actually memorable. Then, there are the others. Movies that are at best mediocre, and very often (especially the past few years) much worse than that, and usually as tough to remember as what you had for lunch three months ago. Something Borrowed may prove to be an exception, since I doubt I will soon forget the frankly miserable experience of sitting through this witless, charmless, laughless and strangely mean-spirited tale.
Here’s the pitch: Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) has been best friends with Darcy (Kate Hudson) since third grade. Rachel has also been in love with Dex (TV actor Colin Egglesfield) since they were in law school together, even though she let Darcy take him away from her. So here we are years later and Darcy and Dex are getting married, but as luck and the script would have it, Rachel and Dex—slightly drunk—end up in bed together. Worse, this indiscretion (I guess it’s supposed to be shocking) clues them in on the fact that they’re really ga-ga about each other. Now, that could be easily—if messily—remedied in real life, but not here. Rachel can’t hurt Darcy, you see, and it will upset Dex’s wealthy parents if he doesn’t marry Darcy. What this means is we’re subjected to at least 90 more minutes of flashbacks, flat gags, contrivances—and some of the most utterly unlikable characters you’ve ever met. The exception is Kate Hudson’s Darcy, who is completely detestable.
The problem here isn’t the premise. I’ve been around way too long to be shocked by it, and am somewhat amused by the people who are. (Did they not see the trailer? It makes the plot very clear.) The problem lies with the characters and the performers. Our supposed central couple is bland, boring and irritating, and they’re played by a duo who live up to that. Hudson’s Darcy is worse. There’s nothing about her that’s even slightly appealing. When the film takes a shot at humanizing her, it’s way too late in the game to have any impact. I’m pretty sure I felt compelled to tell my hapless viewing companion, “I really hate her” (or some variation on that) at least three times. Probably more. Even the marginally likable poor slob (John Krasinski) who’s been mooning over the clueless Rachel for the whole movie is finally more annoying than sympathetic. I not only didn’t care what happened to any of them, I was wishing I’d never set eyes on them. Quentin Crisp once said that even the worst movie is at least better than real life. He was wrong. Rated PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue, and some drug material.