It is the choices not made that haunt the love lives of the characters in Something Borrowed.  The pleasantly adequate acting is no match for the formulaic plot, awkward dialogue, and strangely shallow characters that bring the maturity level of Something Borrowed down to that of a junior high school student’s love life.

Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) is responsible, shy, and caring.  For years her best friend Darcy (Kate Hudson) has taken advantage of her.  Dex (Colin Egglesfield) went to law school with Rachel and ended up in a serious relationship with Darcy.  Ethan (John Krasinski) has been friends with Rachel and Darcy since elementary school.  Marcus (Steve Howey) is Dex’s wild, womanizing friend.  Each loves another, who loves another, who may or may not love them back. 

Spoiler Alert:  In order to fully explain my objection to Something Borrowed, I have to talk about the ending.  If you would like to skip the spoilers, look for this (*_*_*_*_* ) symbol below to indicate where it is safe to read again.

Movie formulas become formulas because if the acting, writing, and visuals all come together, they work.  The “it is not so bad that you cheated with someone you like more because he/she cheated too” plot is a staple of romantic comedy.  It requires that the offending characters are still likable and the character cheated on be annoying or contemptable.  In order to do that, the writing has to follow a careful cinematic equation.  It looks like this:

{[Gp + Bm + RRRL (Bm)] + [Bp = CCPE] + [BPI] = Gp likeable} > or = RCM

For those of you who are unfamiliar with movie algebra I will explain. 
Gp: Good partner (the partner with upstanding personality)
Bm:  Big mistake (a mistake or a willful action that would go against the good partners upstanding personality and could cause pain to the bad partner if found out)
RRRL:  Really, Really, Really, Love
Bp: Bad partner (the partner with distasteful personality)
CCPE:  Cheater ,Cheater Pumpkin Eater (cheating or lying or doing something deceitful or against an agreement of the partners)
BPI: Both partners ignorant of each other’s CCPE-ness until the end
RCM: Romantic Comedy Magic

Let’s try one:

{[Sally + has sex with Bill’s best friend George + is in love with George] + [Bill = been cheating on Sally with 30 women] + [Sally and Bill only find out about each other’s cheating at the end of the movie]} =Sally is still likeable > or = Romantic Comedy Magic

Something Borrowed modified the formula in ways that not only add nothing positive to the story, but are disruptive to the central themes and story.  The Something Borrowed formula looks something like this:

{[Gp + Bm + RRRL (Bm)] + [TPUL + RRRL+ Bm + HB] + [Bp = CCPE] + [FPD + Bp + LCE] + [BPI] = Gp sort of unlikable and audience confused} > or = WTF

TPUL:  Third party unreciprocated love (when a character in the story is in love with a character who does not love them back)
HB:  Heart Break
FPD:  Fourth Party Douche(a fourth party who is a complete douche bag or nozzle –depending)
LCE:  Life changing event (an event that will change the characters’ life)

{[Sally + has sex with Bill’s best friend George + really really really loves George] + [Kyle really really loves Sally but is heartbroken because he does not love her] + [Bill cheats with Susan ] + [Susan + Derrick + have a baby] + [The pregnancy is a secret until Sally and George get together] = Sally is sort of unlikable and audience confused} > or = WTF

An audience member should not have to take notes to understand the basic plot; especially when the plot really is just an overdressed classic.  The filmmakers put Elton John’s clothing on Marilyn Monroe, had her sing YMCA and expected the audience to understand what kind of show they were attending.


When the movie is as formulaic as Something Borrowed, the writing of the specific events, the character development, and the dialogue are essential to the success of the film.  Writer Jennie Snyder did not give the audience entertaining situations, and did not do enough to convince me that the characters were attached to each other or even of their essential natures. 

The dialogue was even worse.  The line “I have always loved you” is uttered while the characters looked longingly into each other’s eyes.  It was as trite and unimaginative as a piece of film writing could be in the given situation.  It is the romantic comedy equivalent to the horror line “I’ll be right back.”

The audience did not receive the story any better than I did.   There was laughter when the characters were being sincere, sadness when the characters were happy, and happiness when the characters were expressing pain.  There was no shortage of laughter to break a collection of awkward pauses.

Besides Kate Hudson, who seemed like she came to work high to play someone high, the acting was believable and occasionally sweet.  Ginnifer Goodwin is touching and tender.  Colin Egglesfield was convincing.  Their hard work was dashed by a director, Luke Greenfield, who believes so strongly in close-up eyeball shots that they make up about half of Something Borrowed.

Something Borrowed probably will not make a viewer wish to pull out their eyeballs, but there are no shortage of reasons to rub them; boredom, confusion, and sleepiness being the big three. Something borrowed is not awful, but it is not worth watching.

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