“The Hamptons are like a zombie movie directed by Ralph Lauren.”
Although I prefer genre films, chick flicks can prove a guilty pleasure. I can get in touch enough with my feminine side to shed a tear at a powerful love story, laugh at romantic misadventures, and embrace the belief in soul mates. So I slipped on my pink silk pajamas, grabbed a box of tissues, curled up on my chaise lounge and approached Something Borrowed with an open mind. OK, I might not have pink pajamas or a chaise lounge, but, in all fairness, this romantic comedy, based on the bestselling novel by Emily Griffin, doesn’t have anything particularly romantic or very funny in it. What it does have are vapid, banal, selfish caricatures trapped in a forced premise which could be resolved in minutes if anyone acted in a remotely adult manner; as well as something borrowed from just about every bad rom-com movie that came before it.
Rachel (a very cute Ginnifer Goodwin – Margene from Big Love) is lonely, depressed and suffering the dreaded thirty year biological clock countdown. Her best friend, Darcy (a bloated Kate Hudson), throws Rachel a surprise birthday party in which she gives the best speech of the movie dedicated to her best friend. The speech leads you to believe Darcy is devoted and sweet, but her actions the rest of the movie contradict every touching word. Darcy is the prototypical selfish, greedy bitch (that no one would ever really have as a best friend), a role now so familiar to Kate Hudson she basically phones in her performance.
Encouraged by a slew of two-dimensional character clichés, Rachel gets sloshed. Darcy’s fiancé and Rachel’s former law school buddy, Dex (soap opera pretty boy, Colin Egglesfield) offers to escort Rachel home. Rachel drunkenly confesses she’s always had a crush on Dex, which leads to a forbidden kiss in the backseat of a cab. One thing leads to another, and they’re in bed together. The rest of the movie consists of the shallow and morally bankrupt consequences that coupling has on the looming wedding between Darcy and Dex.
Oh, let’s not forget the supporting players. The “gay” best friend, Ethan (a self-conscious John Krasinski) who may or may not be gay and may or may not be in love with Rachel, provides the voice of reason. The friend no one would ever really have as a friend, Marcus (Neanderthal descendent Steve Howey), whose serial lechery defines the formulaic misogynistic male commonly created by female writers too lazy to avoid stereotypes. The misguidedly lovestruck girlfriend, Claire (a shabby Ashley Williams) who falls for the gay guy who may or may not be gay. The three of them are supposed to serve as the comic relief; sadly Krasinski, Howey, or Williams aren’t given any funny lines. Their performances aren’t terrible, but their characters’ insipid gags are cringe-inducing.
One can’t totally blame director Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door, The Animal); even though the acting is barely on par with soap operas and sit-coms, the stink mostly rises from the source material. Of course, if you are a fan of Griffin’s chick lit kitsch, then I’m sure nothing I say will dissuade you from seeing (and probably loving) this film. I haven’t read the book or the screenplay, so I can’t be sure if the fault lies more with Griffin or screenwriter Jenny Snyder, but the writing is atrocious. Now, I understand rom-coms dwell in reality more attuned to what you might find in a musical, but Something Borrowed crosses the line into dull, unoriginal, forced-premise bullshit.
The BD-25 disc’s 1080p/AVC transfer to 1.78.1 aspect ratio, running an average 15Mbs, is soft with some artifacts around the more detailed exterior city scenes. Black levels are a bit crushed with the contrast digitally sharpened, but the colors are bright and flesh tones natural.
The 5.1 DTS-HD sound mix never really sparkles or comes alive. The dialog to music ratio is balanced, focusing most of the action up front. The surround isn’t particularly immersive, except in the occasional New York street life scenes. The bass kicks in for nightclub music, but remains flat for the majority of the movie.
All are presented in AVC-encoded high definition video with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound.
Inside “Something Borrowed” (2:31) is a short making-of featurette, cast and crew interviews about the standard EPK drivel.
Gag Reel (5:34) is the standard stumbling, stuttering, cracking up at each other and character-breaking bloopers.
Something Old? (3:50) Oh my gods, turning 30 years of age!!! The end of the world as twenty-somethings know it as detailed in interviews and anecdotes.
On Location Tours with Emily Griffin (4:51) follows the author, surrounded by her devoted (if slightly pathetic) chick lit fans, cheesing through a promotional tour for the film’s theatrical release.
Marcus’s Guide to the Ladies (6:41) actor Steve Howey improvs (in-character) through a horribly redundant list of pickup tricks accompanied by his clips from the film. It is as unfunny and awkward as his character in the movie.
What is “Something Borrowed” (1:46) EPK number two covering plot points and cast insight.
Left off the Guest List (7:38) are deleted scenes, as if watching this movie didn’t steal enough time from your life you will never get back, this gives you the scenes that were bad enough to end up on the cutting room floor.
A Theatrical Trailer has not been included.
Egglesfield’s acting is as stiff as the collars of his pressed shirts. Hudson goes through the motions with a role so unlikable you would be tempted more to beat her than bed her. Goodwin’s charisma carries a character which is basically self absorbed and neurotically passive-aggressive. There is absolutely no chemistry between any of the leads. Nothing vaguely sexy goes down in the entire film. The ending is telegraphed from the first scenes on, and you never once buy it. If watching (or reading about) rich yuppies parading about The Hamptons betraying each other and bemoaning their privileged lives is your idea of a good time, than by all means add a few extra stars to my above ratings. Otherwise, avoid this drivel, or Something Borrowed will leave you somewhat blue.
“No, I didn’t pull my vagina!”