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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Movie Review: Something Borrowed (2011)

So, after all that crash-slam-bang-bang movies we've had in the past two weeks or so, this time it was my turn to choose! Being the sucker I am for romance, it was an easy choice, really.


Something Borrowed was a 2005 bestseller book penned by Emily Giffin. As with all popular books, chic-lit or not, they are always pounced on by movie makers for a little plot-blockbusterization action. More often than not, that plan crashes and burns. Movie adaptations are almost always not as good as the book; and the only exception to this rule is if you've not read the book.

I had not read the book (and obviously Adam hasn't either) so I went into the movie with a clean slate of mind.

Something Borrowed follows our main protagonist, Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin), a demure, smart, single, play-by-the-book lawyer who just turned thirty. Rachel has the two mandatory best friends whom she grew up with, Ethan (John Krasinski - from The Office! :D) and the vivacious, gregarious Darcy (played by blonde bombshell Kate Hudson). Rachel spends most of her life, if not all of it thus far, being a supporting act to Darcy, and it seems as though the domineering Darcy is more than happy to have Rachel in her shadows, which bugs Ethan to no end.

The main cast of Something Borrowed - Krasinski, Goodwin, Hudson & Egglesfield

Now here's where the plot thickens - Darcy is about to tie the knot with her fiancé, Dex (Colin Egglesfield), and by default as best-friend-since-forever, the maid of honour is none other than Rachel. Which would be perfect, but it's not because...

...Rachel actually harbours a crush on Dex that stems from their varsity days. And vice versa. Ever since their first day of law school, Dex and Rachel have been almost inseparable and unbeknown to each other, have both started to fall in love with each other. See, the thing is Dex is pretty much Mr. Perfect; he's tall and good-looking and comes from money and Rachel, although pretty, feels that someone like him would never fall for someone like her. The clincher? Rachel unknowingly pushes Dex away to her best friend Darcy, and by some strange twist of fate, they fall in love. In just a stone's throw away from the wedding, some old flames are reignited between Rachel and Dex, and in a night of nostalgic (and semi-drunkedness) stupor, they sleep together and realize that their feelings are reciprocated. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why she's in such a cliched sticky spot throughout the movie.
It's the age-old love triangle with a best friend thrown in, but unfortunately, things go rather wrong in this chick flick. The script was contrived, dry and draggy.

Ginnifer Goodwin as Rachel

Goodwin tried her hardest, with what she was given to work with, bless her soul. Her portrayal of Rachel won't be winning her any awards but it made the movie better. She was charming and loyal and... immensely nice. With Goodwin's persona, she made Rachel the kind of person you wanted to be friends with. It was easy to root for her, for her to finally get what she wanted.

Kate Hudson as Darcy
Kate Hudson is no stranger to playing these kind of pushy roles (case in point: Bride Wars); so much so that she's probably rather type-cast. The problem is, because the plot is so tightly ravelled around Rachel, we don't get much character development for Darcy. They made the character one-dimensional, annoying and pretty much a selfish witch. All Hudson really needed to do was to act like she was drunk because she acted like a inebriated teenager throughout the movie - barely any challenge to her.

If you follow my drift, what made it easier to root for Rachel (besides Goodwin's on-screen charm), was that Darcy was an awful person. There was no fleshed-out moral dilemma for the viewer because despite Rachel having wronged Darcy by sleeping with Dex, it was actually okay to us. Because Rachel's been short-changed her whole life by this awful BFF of hers.

We were treated to a few fleeting scenes at the end (probably thrown in for good measure as a last ditch attempt to make us believe this friendship) of best friend bonding time, but that was about all we got.

Colin Egglesfield as Dex

Egglesfield fulfills the hot guy prerequisite for romantic comedies; the dude looks like he walked out of a GAP advertisement. He's easy on the eyes, but unfortunately, he's wooden here (Men all over the world celebrate because pfft, Colin Egglesfield is not so perfect after all). Guess you can't have everything in life. Heh.

The chemistry between Hudson & Egglesfield was also pretty non-existent. I spent a lot of the movie wondering what Dex saw in Darcy, because a lot of the time, she was self-absorbed, crass and inappropriate. They were like night and day, and despite the opposites-attract jazz, that story was not told to us. Again, I put it down to poor character development and poor writing, and likely something that was lost in translation from the book to the script.

Egglesfield & Goodwin on the other hand, were a little better together. Egglesfield was still wooden, but Goodwin's charm and warmth made the pairing more believable, especially in the flashback scenes where Rachel & Dex were in law school together.

It's painful to watch as Dex flits back and forth between his decisions and as he spends his time woodenly deciding between either girl, it almost feels like we're watching a badly-scripted episode of The Bachelor (Because he sure looks like he could be one too!). I half-expected him to pull out a rose and eliminate someone at any time. :S

John Krasinski as Ethan

The big saving grace came in the form of John Krasinski. Dude was born with lots of comedic timing and he delivered with every line. His scenes were pretty much the highlight of the movie. As the sidekick, I almost expected him to declare his love for Rachel much earlier in the movie but it was done so near the end that it felt absolutely unnecessary. Krasinski & Goodwin had chemistry together too.

Messy messy triangle.

My final gripe is that the movie was far too long for a rom-com. At a staggering 2 hours and 3 minutes, it left me wondering when it was going to end. And if I felt this way... You can be sure that Adam was even more tortured. It's always killer trying to cram hundreds of pages into a concise 100 minutes or so and Something Borrowed unfortunately tried to squeeze in too much.

(On a side note, I was so curious to see if the movie did the book any justice since it was a best seller back in 2005, but unfortunately it was actually sold out at Borders!)

The final verdict: You know it's not good when you watch till the very end and still can't figure out what the "Something Borrowed" is.

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