If there’s any justice in the world, John Krasinski will soon win an award for being the lone saving grace in so many borderline-insufferable movies—though in all honesty, would it kill the guy to just pick better material in the first place?
In 2007’s License to Wed, 2009’s It’s Complicated, and now again in Something Borrowed, Krasinski is charming, fresh, and funny. And he’s just about the only thing that makes each of them worth watching.
Something Borrowed, based on the bestseller by Emily Giffin, tells the tale of Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin), a New York lawyer who’s celebrating her 30th birthday at a surprise party organized by Darcy (Hudson), her superficial, egotistical best-friend-since-childhood. Darcy is engaged to Dex (Colin Egglesfield), who Rachel has had a crush on since their law school days together. When the party’s over, Rachel and Dex end up sharing a cab together, end up kissing, and then end up sleeping together.
Since Darcy’s a particularly unlikeable person, and since Dex and Rachel are just so darn cute together, we’re expected to just go with it. And, in all honestly, that’s actually a pretty easy thing to do at first.
Something Borrowed is a little like the first time you ever drink a Diet Coke—it tastes good for a few seconds, and then there’s this strange, slightly unappealing aftertaste. As the movie plays in front of you, you may find yourself swept up in the moment—pretty people, some bits of brilliant comedy, and a handful of above-average performances. It’s only afterward that you may find yourself thinking how utterly insufferable most of the lead characters are.
Enter John Krasinski.
As Rachel’s platonic best friend Ethan, Krasinski is the voice of reason, the movie’s moral compass, and just as wry and charming as he is as Jim Halpert on The Office. As Rachel and Dex continue their relationship behind Darcy’s back (and Darcy continues to harvest a few naughty secrets of her own), Ethan is the only person to rise above the mess.
Eventually, sure, everything works itself out, but you can’t help but think the whole mess could have been avoided at any number of points by just the simplest of conversations.
Director Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door) does a fine job with the material he was given. He keeps the plot zipping along at a generally brisk pace, and the scene involving a badminton match is particularly laugh-out-loud hilarious. The screenplay by first-time scribe Jennie Snyder (90210, The Gilmore Girls) is perfectly fine, too—it’s really the source material that is the real problem.
Yes, Giffin’s book is revered the world over as a staple of the chick-lit genre, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out why. Darcy is one of the most entirely unlikeable characters I’ve ever seen/read, and if you’re not so entirely exasperated with Rachel and Dex’s mind-blowing lack of communication and honesty by the end of Something Borrowed, well… well, then you probably own the book and read it annually (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Don’t get me wrong— Hudson and Goodwin are both great in their roles. Goodwin is as cute as humanly possible and does a great job making the unsavory Rachel into a sympathetic character, while Hudson almost does the same with the even-worse Darcy. Egglesfield, though, whose stunning resemblance to Tom Cruise is almost distracting at some points, is little more than eye candy here—not adding much in the way of talent to the proceedings.
Which brings us back to Krasinski.
At the conclusion of Something Borrowed, we’re given a bonus scene that sets up the already-planned sequel, Giffin’s Something Blue, which will elevate Krasinski (and Hudson) from supporting role to lead.
And in my book, that’s a step in the right direction.