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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Something Borrowed

As promised, here are reviews of the other two films released this week. First up....

It would be all too easy to simply review Something Borrowed by throwing its title back at it and writing it off as a generic rom-com that borrows much of its story and characters from better examples of the genre. The problem is, though, that its unoriginality is, by far, the very least of its problems.

This story about a love triangle between two best friends and the man they both love is obvious, lazy and predictable and nothing in Something Borrowed displays any of the emotional poignancy - not to mention solid laughs - that might have elevated the material beyond its mundane plot. And, yet, that's almost besides the point. What really ends up sinking the film are those four smiling faces there on the left.

First, as Dex, the object of the two women's affections, insecurities and jealousies, is Colin Egglesfield, an actor whose pretty boy blandness somehow still fails to capture just how much of a non-entity his character is. The entire basis of the film is supposed to be that these two women are so drawn to this man that they're willing to betray their longstanding friendships and over whose love they are willing to make themselves miserable but Dex is so utterly lacking in charisma, personality and interest that their entire conflict is more likely to have you scratching your head than picking sides.

Then, of course, there's John Krasinski. Aside for the fact that it's impossible to understand why the two women aren't swooning over his character rather than the lifeless mannequin that are so inexplicably enraptured by, he is actually the one redeeming feature in whole film. Staying true to his roles in The Office and the vastly underrated Away We Go, his smart, goofy, likeable and funny Ethan is the only character for whom you will ever feel any sympathy. The only problem then is that he's not in it nearly enough to save the rest of the film and, because you know he is capable of so much more than anything or anyone else involved in this turgid rubbish, you can't help but wonder just why the hell he got involved in a film this rotten in the first place.     

As for the two lead women headlining the film, they're a long, long way away from joining Ruth and Idgie and Thelma and Louise in the canon of great "chick flick" double acts. Ginnifer Goodwin is perfectly OK in her role but her Rachel is such a drippy, pathetic doormat that it becomes increasingly difficult to give a flying crap about her constantly being walked over by Dex: The Mannequin Man or her apparent best friend, the unbelievably grating Darcy, as played by the unbelievably grating Kate Hudson. She does, of course, get herself a so-called "happy ending" but you know things have gone awry when that happy ending does not include her growing a back bone and Dex and Darcy not meeting a bloody and violent end by one of those bears out of Grizzly Man. 

As for Ms. Hudson, this is it. This is the moment when I officially write her off forever as someone with only one good role in them. After wowing me with her terrific performance in Cameron Crowe's tremendous Almost Famous, she has squandered all that good will on a string of crass, crappy romantic comedies but she has never been as irredeemably terrible as she is in Something Borrowed. Her character is already horrible enough but her cloying attempts to make Darcy "funny" or "relateable" only serve to make her more insufferable. And yet we're supposed to believe that any of the other characters in the film want to be friends with or - just unbelievably! - married to her, rather than, say, I don't know, smacking her over the head with a shovel! I am last person to call a film "far fetched" but even I can't find any believability in Darcy and her relationship with anyone on screen.      

That Something Borrowed isn't the worst film of the year is mostly thanks to John Krasinski and the fact that certain other films are somehow even more unbearable. So, while the people responsible for Something Borrowed are down on their knees thanking their lucky stars for bad horror films and the general output of Adam Sandler for making them look even half way adequate, I suggest you find something better on which to spend your R50 and - blessed cheesemakers help us! - 112 minutes of your life that you will never, ever get back.

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