Andy Bockelman: Despite formulaic story, ‘Something Borrowed’ has something unique |

Andy Bockelman: Despite formulaic story, ‘Something Borrowed’ has something unique

Andy Bockelman is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society, and his movie reviews appear in Explore Steamboat and the Craig Daily Press.

Before getting married to the man of her dreams, every bride needs a few things to fulfill tradition. But, when her fiancé becomes "Something Borrowed," does she really need to bother worrying about anything else?

While in law school, Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Dex (Colin Egglesfield) looked like they were always on the verge of taking their friendship to the next level. But, that was before Rachel's best friend, Darcy (Kate Hudson), caught Dex's eye.

Six years later, Darcy and Dex are engaged, while Rachel is miserably single and pretending to be happy for them. After a wild birthday party and a lot of liquor, the dam holding all of Rachel's feelings finally bursts, with a reciprocating Dex caught in the flow.

The result is a hook-up that both Rachel and Dex heavily regret the next morning, agreeing never to speak of it again. Their pact is quickly reneged when the two of them start to realize that they belong together.

But, even though Dex may not have that much guilt in calling off his wedding, Rachel's sense of loyalty won't allow her to follow through on what could be true love.

After her time on "Big Love," Goodwin must have gotten used to playing a character who's fighting for the attention of a man and forced to bite her tongue for fear of upsetting the status quo. She's a little too good to be true as Rachel, the kind of considerate gal pal everyone needs, but at any rate, at least this is a better showcase of her talents than "He's Just Not That Into You."

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Hudson also goes into familiar territory, playing almost the exact same part she did in the matrimony mess "Bride Wars," that of a demanding narcissist whose only thought is "Me, me, me!" But, Darcy's not without emotions, even if she can never come to grips with the fact that she's the root of all her friend's unhappiness.

Egglesfield has considerable charm as the indecisive guy at the center of things, but John Krasinski is much more agreeable as Ethan, the childhood friend of Rachel and Darcy, who perpetually tries in vain to convince Rachel that she either needs to speak her mind or forever hold her peace.

Adding an unnecessary bit of cheese to the pot are Steve Howey as Dex's lady-killer best friend, Marcus, and Ashley Williams as Claire, a one-night stand of Ethan's who keeps integrating herself back into his life.

A refreshingly small amount of wacky supporting characters help keep this adaptation of Emily Giffin's chick lit novel sincere. Were there wave after wave of dopey people pulling us into the undertow of the sea of romantic comedies, it wouldn't work.

But, the story here insists on being taken seriously as a more dramatic piece, where we can't judge anybody with knee-jerk reactions as Rachel and Dex look for a way to get out of the love triangle in which they've become trapped. There are no easy solutions, and there's a good chance not everyone will wind up happy.

But, while there's a sense of conviction in portraying a down-to-earth romance, the movie relies too heavily on the familiar frills of the genre that churned out stuff like "27 Dresses," "The Wedding Planner" and "My Best Friend's Wedding."

The title of "Something Borrowed" is appropriate considering how liberally it lifts its premise from other films. Nevertheless, the positive way to look at it is the "something old" is countered with a healthy amount of "something new," ensuring the audience won't be "something blue."

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‘Something Borrowed’

2.5 out of 4 stars

112 minutes

Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, John Krasinski and Colin Egglesfield.