Combustible Celluloid
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With: Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield, John Krasinski, Steve Howey, Ashley Williams, Geoff Pierson, Jill Eikenberry, Jonathan Epstein, Leia Thompson, Sarah Baldwin, Mark La Mura, Lindsay Ryan, Kirsten Day, Christopher Peuler
Written by: Jennie Snyder, based on a book by Emily Giffin
Directed by: Luke Greenfield
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue, and some drug material
Running Time: 103
Date: 04/20/2011

Something Borrowed (2011)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Dreading Vows

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Luke Greenfield's Something Borrowed turns from a romantic comedy to a chick flick the first time a character cries (or nearly cries) and some light music comes up over the soundtrack. Generally the reason that this happens is that some character has fallen in love with someone they can't have. Love is the only thing that matters here, but in an unhealthy, annoying way. None of the other potential accomplishments, achievements or friendships in the film mean much with out it.

Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) is the "plain" or "shy" girl, who nonetheless has a sweet smile. Her best friend is the slightly dim party girl Darcy (Kate Hudson); I've never been a Hudson fan, but she has never looked so rundown as she does here. How or why these two are best friends is a mystery, even to them. They have simply hung onto their friendship for years and got into the habit, I suppose. That, and they like to do a silly Salt 'n' Pepa hip-hop dance routine together.

Unfortunately, Darcy is about to marry the man of Rachel's dreams, the perpetually bland Dex (Colin Egglesfield), who looks like a distant relative of Tom Cruise's, but with a strange nose bridge that forever threatens to upstage the actor. Darcy went to school with Dex, and they are obvious soul mates, but she was too shy to speak up at the appropriate moment, and lost him to the more outgoing Darcy. Too bad Dex is too much of a wuss to speak up; he's afraid of his father. Though why his father wants him to marry Darcy and not Rachel is another mystery.

Thankfully John Krasinski is here as Ethan, Rachel's best buddy. As in the awful It's Complicated, Krasinski is the only one tuned into the material to such a degree that he can make fun of it. Unfortunately, as the movie goes on, he becomes more entrenched in the turgid drama, and it becomes more and more difficult for him to rise above it. There are a couple of other, pathetic characters that have nothing to do with reality, the slacker ladies' man Marcus (Steve Howey), and the needy, clingy Claire (Ashley Williams).

Writer Jennie Snyder -- who adapted Emily Giffin's 2004 book -- and director Greenfield attempt to balance the awkward, unfunny comedy with the overcooked drama, saturating the first half with more of the former, and the second half with more of the latter. But it would help if these people were actually people. For example, Rachel apparently graduated from law school. Is she proud of that achievement? What made her go to law school? Nothing outside of romantic longings actually matters here, and the characters are all whiny and drippy.

The whole thing goes on for 103 minutes, which feels more like 143 minutes. It's like being at a real wedding with no open bar.

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