Review: 'Something Borrowed'

(One-and-a-half stars)

In a week that will see another superhero action movie atop the charts, it's perhaps a bit churlish to complain about another romantic comedy. But "Something Borrowed" is so aggressively "cookie-cutter" that it's hard to just smile and say, "Thank you, sir, may I have another?"

Based on the 2005 Emily Giffin bestseller, "Something Borrowed" spins a "one that got away" fantasy of young, trendy, pretty, upscale urban professionals who work in New York and play in the Hamptons. Lifelong best friends Rachel White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Darcy (Kate Hudson) face a crisis as the latter's wedding day rapidly approaches. Seems Darcy is marrying Dex (Colin Egglesfield), the man Rachel regrets not pursuing in law school.

All bets are off once Rachel has a drunken one-night stand with Dex a month before the wedding (though, as Dex points out, "I wasn't that drunk"). Horrors! If Darcy weren't entirely selfish, annoying and needy, and if Dex weren't sharing the same romantic regrets as Rachel, Rachel's course of action could be very hard to choose, indeed.

Actually, Rachel does have her doubts. Is Dex, now a demonstrable cheater, capable of commitment? What about the puppyish male best friend (John Krasinski of "The Office") eternally at Rachel's side: Might he be the man for her? And, gee, maybe Darcy isn't so bad. After all, she still loves to reenact the girls' childhood dance routine to Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It"!

Sappy sentimentality hides around every corner, which wouldn't be so bad if the corners were funny or had a trace of grit. Unfortunately, Luke Greenfield's film commits to the bright blandness of a catalog, one specializing in pastels and summer-weight twill. The garish product placement doesn't help, especially in the yuppie-porn montage that first depicts the gang heading into the Hamptons. Beachside scenery, upscale shops and brand names flit across the screen to the tune of Paolo Nutini's inane ode to consumption, "New Shoes."

For all its failings, "Something Borrowed" is sort of impressive in its studied mediocrity, and its temptation (especially to a target audience of young women) to cheat on one's intellectual diet. By casting capable actors like Goodwin, Hudson and Krasinski, Greenfield protects the picture's "watchability," but the-once likeable Goodwin is one more of these away from losing any thespian credibility. Obviously, it's hard to feel too bad for the rich yuppies here -- with their needlessly confused morals -- and the craven characters' insistence on ceding responsibility to each other repels.

So here we go again: Big lies swell and then pop in a flick that's 100 percent adherent to the shiny, colorful Warner Brothers rom-com style guide. My advice? Neither a borrower nor a lender be.

Rated PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue, and some drug material. 1 hour, 53 minutes.

— Peter Canavese

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