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Entries in Ginnifer Goodwin (2)

Friday
May062011

Something Borrowed

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

Friday
Jul232010

Ramona and Beezus

Well, what a surprise. In a summer that has been bombarded by bloated action flicks and unnecessary 3D extravaganzas, I almost forgot what it was like to see a nice, G rated charmer like Ramona and Beezus. Based off the hit books by Beverly Cleary, Ramona and Beezus hits all the right notes. It pleases the children in the audience while simultaneously reminding the adults what it’s like to be one.

Meet Ramona Quimby (Joey King). She’s nine years and three months old and contrary to what her sister Beezus (Selena Gomez) will tell you, she is not a pest. She’s actually a lively young child who spices up her everyday life with some imagination. Unfortunately, she does so at school, much to the dismay of her teacher Mrs. Meacham (Sandra Oh). It’s because of this that her latest report card suffers, though her parents have bigger problems. Her father Robert (John Corbett) has just been laid off due to downsizing and can’t find another job, which forces her mother Dorothy (Bridget Moynahan) to abandon her job as housekeeper and find one that pays. However, her checks aren’t big enough to pay the bills and it begins to look like they may lose the house, but not if Ramona can do anything about it.

Ramona and Beezus is simply wonderful. Its hopes and aspirations lay only in the desire to make the audience smile and it succeeds. Joey King is simply adorable as Ramona and perfectly captures the essence of a kid. She runs and laughs and screams with her friend Howie (Jason Spevack). She loves her parents and, like all children, has that underlying fear that her parents may get a divorce. She has a pet she adores. She’s a nuisance in school, but not because she’s a rotten child. Rather it’s because she dreams of the impossible and builds whole worlds, many of which you get to see onscreen through cartoony digital effects that effectively show how her imagination works.

On top of her delightful performance and those actors I’ve mentioned above, you also have the impeccably handsome Josh Duhamel and unbelievably cute Ginnifer Goodwin who play old high school sweethearts who are now all grown up and begin to rekindle their old flame. The cast is full of charming, likable people who are kind to each other and love each other unconditionally.

It’s a sweet movie to be sure, perhaps a little too sweet. The whole film teeters on the line of mushy sentimentality and at times crosses it. You get the feeling that this family exists in a world where happiness is the only emotion because, other than a few small moments, little else comes across. There are a few too many scenes that are forced to the point where it begins to feel manipulatively upbeat, like a late water fight scene that leads up to the cheesiest moment in the movie.

Still, the Quimbys are a loving family surrounded by loving friends and it’s hard not to root for them. Despite the title, the film is just as much about the rest of the characters as it is Ramona and Beezus and that’s where the strength of the film lies. It’s easy to relate to the titular characters because we’ve all been there as kids, but it’s nice to see everybody else fleshed out as well. Despite some schlock, you’ll see the genuine chemistry between Duhamel and Goodwin and you’ll feel the part of Robert that fears he may not land a new job and won’t be able to support his family. All of that is handled with care.

Ramona and Beezus is an absurdly cheerful movie that will undoubtedly move even the manliest of men. Everybody wants to receive a similar love and acceptance that the characters get in this movie and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear or two by the end.

Ramona and Beezus receives 3.5/5