Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed is quintessential “chick lit,” a highly marketable genre of fiction that prides itself in depicting modern womanhood in a (mostly) humorous manner. And because it was an international bestseller with a built in demographic, a film adaptation was inevitable (although I thought it would have arrived sooner). Something Borrowed, director Luke Greenfield’s eponymous production (penned by Jennifer Snyder), certainly lives up to its title — not necessarily in terms of quality though.
It opens with Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin), an ordained law-student with a mid-life crisis — at her own birthday party, thrown by best-friend and seasoned narcissist, Darcy (Kate Hudson), she learns of Darcy’s plans to marry Dex (Colin Egglesfield), Rachel’s former crush and study partner. When Darcy drinks herself sick and is forced to punch out for the night, things between Rachel and the newfound groom heat up and, at the local bar over a few post-party Heinekens, he admits his mutual feelings for her, a confession that spills over to Rachel’s apartment, where she wakes up the next morning — naked — alongside Dex. The question quickly arises, what’s more important, romance or friendship? Now if only it weren’t asked with the aesthetic and narrative of a Lifetime feature.
Rounding out the cast are John Krasinski, as Ethan, Rachel’s straight-shooting emotional support, and Steve Howey, who stars as Marcus, Dex’s blockheaded consort. And when these characters are all brought to the Hamptons (on Darcy’s whim) to celebrate and relax, even more drama surfaces — including past romances, family troubles, and hidden demons. Cue Alex Wurman’s second-rate orchestral score.
A poor soundtrack is the least of this production’s problems; Goodwin and Egglesfield headline with the grace of a beached whale — and their dull romance is made worse by the latter’s overall creepiness in his role. This tasks the rest of the cast with picking up the pieces while somehow mustering up redeemable performances. Fortunately, for you and me, they do. With Krasinski’s overall likeability as the enlightened writer who has some secrets himself, and Hudson’s mesmerizing turn as Darcy, a character that exemplifies the production’s darkest themes of vanity and alcoholism, Something Borrowed becomes tolerable. Even Howey is somewhat charming.
But with a central love-interest that fails to inspire and lacks any chemistry, it’s no surprise that Something Borrowed takes, what seems like, hours to reach its painfully clichéd climax: A passionate kiss in the pouring rain. Come to think about it, all of Luke Greenfield’s latest consists of story elements borrowed from other — so much more successful — romantic comedies.