Writing a review of a romantic comedy is a slog through tedium. How many times must I type the same thing about films in the genre before one comes along and does something different? There hasn’t been a truly unique romantic comedy since 2008’s Definitely Maybe. That’s a long time to go watching the same thing over and over again and this week’s genre entry, Something Borrowed, isn’t going to bring about change. Given the genre’s track record, it was only a matter of time before a rom-com earned a spot on my worst of the year list. It appears that time has come.
Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Darcy (Kate Hudson) are best friends. They have been their whole lives. However, there’s an awkwardness that pervades the room every time they’re together—Rachel is in love with Darcy’s fiancée, Dex (Colin Egglesfield), though Darcy doesn’t know it. She has had a crush on him ever since they met in law school, but her timidity kept her from telling him. Now, finally, she does and he surprisingly reciprocates the feeling. A fling between the two begins, but Dex won’t leave Darcy. So Rachel turns to Ethan (John Krasinski) for advice, to which he replies, “Make him decide.”
So what makes Something Borrowed so terrible? Oh, a host of things. Aside from its predictability, clichés and mostly unintentional laughs, nearly every character in the movie is unlikable, some even deplorable. Rachel is the central character, the one we’re supposed to root for, but for the majority of the movie, she wallows in her own self pity. She whines and complains about Darcy and Dex, but thanks to the film’s non-linear approach, we get to see that their impending marriage is almost completely her fault. Rather than step up and say something, she allows Darcy to steal Dex right out from under her. You see that her pity party was self inflicted and listening to her sob stories eventually becomes tiresome.
Part of the reason you don’t like her, however, is because she frets so much about people who shouldn’t matter to her to begin with. Why is she friends with Darcy, an obnoxious, self centered floozy who points out her flaws—from her age to her ugly shoes—at every chance she gets? She puts up with and cares about this woman when, let’s be honest, she really shouldn’t. Again, it’s a problem she herself has created.
When it comes to her romantic interest, much is the same. Remember that guy in high school you hated because he was with the girl you liked, but cheating on her with someone else? Dex personifies that guy. He tells Rachel how much he cares about and wants to be with her, but then blatantly plays cute with Darcy in front of her. He strings her along, yet she still clings to him. If Dex is that guy in high school you hated, Rachel is the girl you liked who was too stupid to realize what was happening.
The only character in this entire movie without a romantic agenda, so to speak, is Ethan. He’s the only one with some sense, essentially playing the voice of reason. He can see that Dex is stringing Rachel along and he tells her about it. Of course, being the voice of reason doesn’t mean much when that voice is carrying itself into a head as empty as Rachel’s.
I’m aware I’ve spent nearly all of this review talking about how irritating the characters are, but frankly, it’s a substantial problem. Besides, complaining about the contrivances and cheesy speeches is frivolous because they’re expected. Most everyone knows how these movies play out by now. Still, I suppose there’s an audience for this tripe, so if you don’t mind formula and don’t care about interesting characters or a meaningful story, by all means, give it a go. If your brain still works, though, I’d suggest skipping Something Borrowed. Those brain cells should be cherished, not destroyed.
Something Borrowed receives 0.5/5