In a week that will see another superhero action movie atop the charts, it’s perhaps a bit churlish to complain about another romantic comedy. But Something Borrowed is so aggressively cookie-cutter that it’s hard to just smile and say, "Thank you, sir, may I have another?"
Based on the 2005 Emily Giffin bestseller, Something Borrowed spins a “one that got away” fantasy of young, trendy, pretty, upscale urban professionals who work in New York and play in the Hamptons. Lifelong best friends Rachel White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Darcy (Kate Hudson) face a crisis as the latter’s wedding day rapidly approaches. Seems Darcy is marrying Dex (Colin Egglesfield), the man Rachel regrets not pursuing in law school.
Passive to a fault, Darcy is content to let her old friends marry, but all bets are off once Rachel has a drunken one-night stand with Dex a month before the wedding (though, as Dex points out, “I wasn’t that drunk”). Horrors! If Darcy weren’t entirely selfish, annoying, and needy, and if Dex weren’t sharing the same romantic regrets as Rachel, Rachel’s course of action could be very hard to choose, indeed.
Actually, Rachel does have her doubts. Is Dex, now a demonstrable cheater, capable of commitment? What about the puppyish male best friend (John Krasinski of The Office) eternally at Rachel’s side: might he be the man for her? And, gee, maybe Darcy isn’t so bad: after all, she still loves to reenact the girls’ childhood dance routine to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It”!
Sappy sentimentality hides around every corner, which wouldn’t be so bad if the corners were funny or had a trace of grit. Unfortunately, Luke Greenfield’s film commits to the bright blandness of a catalog, one specializing in pastels and summer-weight twill. The garish product placement doesn’t help, especially in the yuppie-porn montage that first depicts the gang heading into the Hamptons: beachside scenery, upscale shops, and brand names flit across the screen to the tune of Paolo Nutini’s inane ode to consumption “New Shoes.”
For all its failings, Something Borrowed is sort of impressive in its studied mediocrity, and its temptation (especially to a target audience of young women) to cheat on one’s intellectual diet. By casting capable actors like Goodwin, Hudson and Krasinski, Greenfield protects the picture’s “watchability,” but the once likeable Goodwin is one more of these away from losing any thespian credibility. Obviously, it’s hard to feel too bad for the rich yuppies here—with their needlessly confused morals—and the craven characters' insistence on ceding responsibility to each other repels.
So here we go again: big lies swell and then pop in a flick that’s one-hundred percent adherent to the shiny, colorful Warner Brothers rom-com style guide. My advice? Neither a Borrower nor a lender be.
In its Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy edition, Something Borrowed can at least boast flexibility of viewing. The image quality of the hi-def transfer is a bit ho-hum: colors and textures impress, but faint halos creep into the image and crush is evident as a result of ill-advised contrast calibration. Overall, it's a solid transfer, but despite a lack of compression artifacts,. this isn't the most natural-looking transfer on Blu-ray. One expects a comedy of this type to remain mostly front and center with the audio, which is the case with the lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mix. When directional effects are applied, they are ably handled, and there's occasional ambience, but there's not much in the way of aural excitement, given the material.
Bonus features are as superficial as the feature, amounting to about thirty minutes of fluff, albeit all in hi-def. "On Location Tours" puts author Emily Griffin together with fans on a New York tour bus for relationship and film adaptation talk. "Inside Something Borrowed" is a brief, strictly standard-issue promo. "Something Old?" is a silly piece asking cast and crew about turning thirty, while "What is Something Borrowed?" similarly poses the titular question. Four deleted scenes comprise "Left Off the Guest List": "I'm Sorry We Haven't Had Time to Talk," "This is Already the Best Weekend I've Ever Had," "Rachel and Ethan in London," and "When Were You Going to Tell Me?" "Marcus' Guide to the Ladies" is a familiar mock featurette (even the extras are borrowed), this version featuring Steve Howey's character Marcus advising men on how to date women. Last up is the film's "Gag Reel."
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