Something Borrowed (review)

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Hollywood Ugly

Rachel is secretly in love with Dex, and has been for years, yet never did anything about it even though he was obviously into her, too. Now, all of a sudden, as he is about to marry her best friend, Darcy, Rachel decides she must have him. Waaahhh!

Clearly, Something Borrowed assumes we will feel sorry for poor, poor Rachel, and her tragic life as a passive-aggressive victim of her own lack of backbone. Just as clearly, it is impossible to like her… or anyone else in this most misguided, most obnoxious romantic comedy is quite a long while. The genre always assumes we’ll sympathize with ugly, soulless, personality-free women doing terrible things to the people they supposedly care about in the pursuit of a wedding, because what is more important than landing Mr. Right, right? But even grading on that rom-com curve, this is a disgusting movie.
In fact, there isn’t a likeable person onscreen here, though John Krasinski’s (It’s Complicated, Monsters vs. Aliens) Ethan comes close. As the third corner in the pals-from-childhood friendship triangle that includes Rachel and Darcy, he at least gets a moment in which he informs clueless Rachel that her situation with Dex is “not complicated,” as she insists it is. See, Rachel and Dex accidentally fell into bed together — whoops, infidelity! — mere weeks before his marriage to Darcy, but he’s being a passive-aggressive asshole, too, in refusing to actually deal with this. He can’t call off the wedding — in a revolting piling-on of ridiculously melodramatic bullshit, his mother is clinically depressed but is feeling better because she’s so excited about the wedding! And Rachel is constitutionally incapable of expressing her own needs and desires, so she keeps justifying Dex’s assholery. Finally, Ethan tells her: “He’s being a dick. And you’re being stupid.”

But that’s one tiny moment of honesty in a movie that’s all about people who are unable to express a single honest emotion, except to complain to third parties about how no one understands them… and we’re supposed to accept this as just the way folks are, you know? Which leads to Ethan lying to another woman in their circle, Claire (Ashley Williams) about the fact that he’s gay, because he simply cannot bring himself to tell her, kindly and gently as he might, that he’s not interested in sleeping with her again.

And that one tiny moment of honesty is, apparently, meant to balance out all the other diagnosable personality disorders here and render them somehow adorable. Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin [Ramona and Beezus, A Single Man], whose charm cannot save this) and Darcy (Kate Hudson [A Little Bit of Heaven, The Killer Inside Me], who gets more unbearable with each movie) are meant to be “soulmates,” but there’s no evidence of that. “When do I ever say no to you?” Rachel points out to Darcy. Someone should have pointed out to Rachel that that’s not friendship — that’s being a doormat. Darcy is a hideous bitch: self-centered, attention-grabbing, shallow, and so absurdly phony that she practices crying for her wedding day so she can pick the right waterproof mascara. Dex (Colin Egglesfield: Must Love Dogs) is a shell of a man with no discernible attractions — unless being a Tom Cruise lookalike makes him eligible and interesting… perhaps it does to women as idiotic as these two.

The misogyny on display here is made even worse by the fact that it’s allegedly disguised as just-because-us-girls honesty. Perhaps the awful notion that because Rachel has just turned 30 years old means she “can’t afford to be picky” was present in Emily Giffin’s novel [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada] [Amazon U.K.], and was merely picked up by screenwriter Jennie Snyder. But it’s all the fault of director Luke Greenfield that the indisputably, unquirkily beautiful Goodwin has been cast as a woman who simply can’t believe that a man like Dex would find her attractive: If now even the likes of Goodwin is Hollywood-ugly, then Hollywood has taken a turn down a road we should no longer follow down, not any of us.

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