Movie review: 'Something Borrowed’ doesn’t pay up

Dana Barbuto

Ginnifer Goodwin deserves better than what she gets as yet another desperate-for-love singleton in the film version of Emily Giffin’s best-selling chick lit novel “Something Borrowed.” Instead of accentuating her beauty and vitality, she has to hear stuff like, “You’re 30, you can’t be picky.” Just when did 30 become an expiration date for women?

Best known for her role on HBO’s “Big Love,” Goodwin is wrapped up in a film full of rom-com tropes such as declarations of love delivered in pouring rain or a dance duet set to a silly ’80s song or a flashback to the first time he wiped a tear from her cheek and dialogue consisting of gems like, “You’re all I ever thought about” or “I didn’t think someone like you could ever like someone like me.” These staples of the genre completely squander Goodwin’s abilities.

The script, penned by Jennie Snyder, making the jump to film from the rebooted “Beverly Hills 90210” and “Gilmore Girls,” has some nuance and surprises, but it never meets any of the moral dilemmas it poses head-on. And, there’s a lot going on – the stigma of being a 30-year-old single woman; the struggle to maintain lifelong friendships that may have run their course; overcoming your fears to get what you want; and the pursuit of love.

It’s the latter that sets the creaky story in motion: Goodwin’s Rachel is in love with her best friend Darcy’s (Kate Hudson) fiancé, Dex (Colin Egglesfield, a dead ringer for Rob Lowe). Secretly in love from the get-go, Dex and Rachel met in law school and neither divulged their feelings. Along comes the outsized – and blond – Darcy to pounce on the opportunity. Seven years later they are engaged and the wedding is two months hence. In the meantime, Dex revisits his feelings for Rachel and before the opening credits the two are going at it in the back of a cab on the night of her 30th birthday.

You instantly feel badly for Darcy because no one deserves a cheating groom-to-be. But she’s revealed to be such a selfish twit, constantly using Rachel as her doormat, that you side with Rachel. By the time the film ends, you’ve flip-flopped more than a politician in an election year, and you’re mad at yourself for even getting slightly invested in a messed-up situation with truly unlikable people who have not evolved beyond toddlers. Like 2-year-olds, they want what they want when they want it. They are reckless with each other’s emotions and no one is mature enough to man up and lay it all on the table.

Director Luke Greenfield (“The Girl Next Door”) tries to elicit something wiser and sophisticated than it really is.

The movie is watchable mainly because of the cast. Goodwin and Hudson are agreeable as the childhood girlfriends whose relationship has outstayed its welcome. Goodwin also needs to stop being cast as the less-attractive wallflower, just as she was in “He’s Just Not That Into You.” Enough already, she’s gorgeous. Hudson is just playing another version of the character she plays in every romantic comedy she’s been in, from “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” to “Bride Wars.”

While definitely a tall drink of water, newcomer Egglesfield is too stiff for a role requiring some emotionally tortuous decisions. Call the wedding off? Reveal the affair? Heavy stuff for the young actor to convey while always wearing the same wooden expression.

Rounding out their circle of friends is Steve Howey, Dex’s slacker best friend Marcus, and Ashley Williams doing the sexed-up bit to bed Newton’s John Krasinski, playing Rachel’s best guy friend, Ethan. Krasinski not only gives good advice, but he also steals the show, especially in an awkward badminton scene in which he stirs the pot but good.

When there’s betrayal like this between close friends, no one comes out unscarred. But, this is Hollywood, and there’s a sort of unrealistic happily-ever-after taking place and it leaves a sour taste, especially the portrayal of female friendship. We’re better than that, and hopefully, the sequel, “Something Blue,” that is set up after the final credits run will do a better job.

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SOMETHING BORROWED (PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue, and some drug material.) Cast includes Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, John Krasinski and  Egglesfield. 1.5 stars out of 4.