By Caryn James | James on Screens May 4, 2011 at 1:15AM
“The Hamptons are like a zombie movie directed by Ralph Lauren.” Enjoy that line, because it’s about the only one that might make you laugh in the irredeemably lame romcom Something Borrowed. From the minute you see Ginnifer Goodwin wearing an unconvincing long brown wig, you have an inkling of just how false this by-the-numbers film is going to be.
Goodwin’s character, Rachel, is a bookish lawyer in love with her former law school classmate, Dex (Colin Egglesfield), who’s now engaged to her best friend, Darcy. Kate Hudson doesn’t stretch herself as obnoxious, self-absorbed party girl Darcy. These women. supposedly like sisters since childhood, are the kind of total opposites who only stay friends in the movies. Dex is so nondescript they might as well be fighting over a Ken doll.
Goodwin is deft at this kind of fluffy role, and almost convinces you that Rachel is self-effacing enough to sit back while Darcy swoops in (in flashbacks) and carries off the prize – just when Rachel and Dex were about to tell each other they had fallen in love over Torts.
Hudson is annoying, but at least her abominably selfish character is meant to be. We know this because John Krasinski is there as Ethan, their other childhood friend and Rachel’s confidant after she and Dex fall into bed not long before the wedding. Krasinski gets the Hamptons-zombie line, but also has to stand around explaining things we can see perfectly well for ourselves. Darcy gives a toast that’s all about her at Rachel’s birthday party; Ethan says sarcastically: “Center of attention - that’s weird.” (Why does he keep taking pathetic little roles? He’s so much better than this material.) .
The plot is creaky, the ending obvious, and the women’s relationship so unlikely that Rachel’s dilemma of love vs. friendship never seems relevant. Marcus (Steve Howey, who plays Kevin on Shameless) is a doofus who thinks he’s a ladies’ man; Claire (Ashley Williams) is crazily obsessed with Ethan. They are meant to be wacky-sidekick characters but are just contrived. Jennie Snyder Urman’s screenplay (based on Emily Griffin’s novel) is tone-deaf, which at least makes it a good fit for Luke Greenfield’s hackneyed direction.
Even the title is wrong. Many scenes are set at the Shake Shack in New York’s Madison Square Park, and at one point Rachel visits Ethan and brings him takeout, holding up the bag with the restaurant’s logo. In the spirit of Morgan Spurlock’s product-placement doc Pom Wonderful Presents the Greatest Movie Ever Sold, this should have been called Shake Shack Presents Something Borrowed. It wouldn’t have made the movie any more crassly calculated than it already is.