Considering its sweeping conventionality, it’s hard to fathom why director Luke Greenfield agreed to give his film the too-apropos title Something Borrowed. Then again, cluelessness—about love, friendship, fidelity, and creative screenwriting—is characteristic of this latest assembly-line rom com, in which passive lawyer Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) sleeps with her lifelong BFF Darcy’s (Kate Hudson) fiancé, Dex (Colin Egglesfield), whom she first let get away during law school. Since Dex is also into her, Rachel’s dilemma only concerns her loyalty to Darcy, but Greenfield’s story immediately squanders any potential for genuine dramatic friction by casting Hudson’s character as an intolerably egomaniacal party girl without a care in her uneducated head for anyone other than herself. As a result, the entire scenario comes off as easily resolvable at every turn. Nonetheless, with an excessive 112 minutes to fill, the plot plods its way toward an inevitable happily ever after, flip-flopping between Manhattan apartments and Hamptons beaches and bars, and padding its action with peripheral characters—Rachel’s best friend, Ethan (John Krasinski); Dex’s goofy lothario pal, Marcus (Steve Howey); Ethan’s stalker, Claire (Ashley Williams)—who provide a bit of strained levity to offset Rachel’s ceaseless handwringing.
The fact that Something Borrowed‘s supporting players are cardboard cutouts (don’t forget Dex’s cold yuppie father!) isn’t nearly as unpleasant as the phoniness of Jennie Snyder’s script (based on Emily Giffin’s novel), which addresses supposedly knotty situations with whatever convenient complications most neatly resolve matters. Rachel’s challenge is to take control of her own destiny, yet her quest is comprised solely of contrivances (the worst two: Darcy making Rachel write her wedding vows, and the duo performing a nauseatingly cute dance routine from their childhood set to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It”) designed to bluntly manipulate emotions. Throughout, Darcy’s grinning narcissism proves the proceedings’ utmost aggravating element, though close behind is the unreasonably kind Rachel’s refusal to smack her obnoxious friend silly. On her way to personal and romantic fulfillment, Rachel learns that platonic male friends are usually consumed with less-than-platonic feelings, and that when you find a guy who yearns to be a schoolteacher (awww!) and always behaves in the way that’ll best alleviate his mother’s chronic depression (double awww!), you just can’t let him marry a selfish, superficial idiot. Ultimately, the only noteworthy thing about this formulaic fairy tale is its product placement-y suggestion about what women really want: to remain skinny and desirable while dining daily at the Shake Shack.