In college, as a studious law student Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) met and fell hard for the handsome Dex (Colin Eggesfield), but before they could explore anything beyond the tentative-holding-hands-stage of a friendship in waltzes Darcy (Kate Hudson) with a dare that Dex ask her out. Years later, all three are well-established in their careers (well, Darcy just does… whatever it is that Darcy does) and Rachel is playing maid of honor in Darcy’s wedding… to Dex. Still madly in love with a man who’s ring is most definitely NOT on Rachel’s finger, she confides in only one other person about her true feelings; best friend Ethan (John Krasinski). During a surprise 30th birthday party for Rachel, things get a little complicated when she has one drink too many and she winds up having to choose between her dreams… or possibly wrecking everything.
I realize this movie has gotten horrible reviews. What little I read about it at press time led to the conclusion that almost everyone hated all the characters, unable to identify with a single one. (Hello! Maybe that is actually a good thing!) To some extent I “get” that and understand what they were saying – I myself am appalled at some of the behavior that unfolds, and am pleased to report I didn’t indentify with a single one of them. Most the time, when I see a title within this genre (romance-comedy), I am not one to rant and rave about the ins and outs of in-depth immorality (well… most of the time), but when something is meant to entertain, that is what I let the movie do. That does not mean I am immune to character’s immorality or that by seeing something I am placing a stamp of approval on the motivations, what I am saying is that I can watch something like this without being influenced in thinking that these choices are appropriate manners to aspire too. And with that being said, strictly looking at it through such a perspective this is a fun flick.
Before I get too far into this post, let me just say that I can appreciate where all the disapproval stems from. Even I, as much as I wanted to like this, take issue with a lot of the situations. Darcy sleeps around. Ethan partakes in a one-night stand. Marcus (oh! Did I forget to mention this dude? He is a flake who is constantly hanging around) flirts and sleeps with any woman who will pay attention to him. And then there is Rachel and Dex. Even the two people we are being asked to root for a happily-ever-after are not above reproach. The story takes everything that we should want to strive for as human beings and turns it upside down. It promotes promiscuity… and lying… and cheating. So, how can something like that be genuine? There are fleeting moments that do feel real. A lot of Rachel and Darcy’s scenes are cute such as scenes of them acting goofy and performing a dance or Darcy opening up to Rachel about who she really is and wondering if it is the right decision for her to marry Dex. There are few lessons to be learned: you have to look beneath the surface to find them. For us, it is a lesson in how not to treat your girlfriends. Who could betray their best friend like Rachel does? Once is terrible but twice is just amoral on her part. In a different way Rachel is as bad a person as Darcy.
Should I have even remotely liked this movie? Probably not but the fact that I am fully aware of everyone’s misguided moral compass makes the movie more… tolerable. For me the worst part is Dex’s convoluted relationships. The fact that he couldn’t be a man and make his own decisions (he lets his family influence him) makes him a less-than-worthy hero. What kind of guy admits to being “in love” with his soul mate while still planning a wedding and sharing a bed with another woman? There is just something very wrong with that picture. Not that I am excusing Rachel in any way for her part in the duplicity. She was just as guilty if not more so. Rachel thought so little of herself that she was willing to give in to anything to be in a relationship – the relationship she has wanted for years; her behavior suggested a minimal amount of self-respect. As she later admits it wasn’t Darcy who constantly belittled her or continuously “ruled” her life, but rather Rachel who let Darcy always win. She was living a lie – hurting herself most of all.
Unfortunately, this is a story hard to recommend. It would have benefited from some discretion – a LOT. In the end, the film kind of manages to turn a pretty wedding adage on its side, in the process making us realize that this “borrowed” is something not quite as wholesome as we’d like to relate to such a saying.
(Something Borrowed is PG13. There are countless sexual references; various affairs and one-night stands are uncovered. One homosexual gag is played for laughs. Several scenes take place in bars and profanity is littered throughout the script. On Clearplay, the film is improved but the implication is always still there.)