Romantic comedy has taken a shellacking lately in a series of stupefying flops, but they didn’t have Ginnifer Goodwin. This delectable morsel, who just ended a spectacular five-year run as the youngest of Bill Paxton’s three polygamous sister-wives in the riveting HBO series Big Love, hits the screen with cheerful fizz in Something Borrowed. She plays Rachel, a bright, reliable attorney in a New York law firm and the sane, balanced, perennially unmarried best friend of flaky playgirl Darcy (Kate Hudson). It is the eve of Darcy’s wedding to their longtime crush, Dex, played by the impossibly handsome Colin Egglesfield, from TV’s Melrose Place, but on her 30th birthday, it is Rachel, the maid of honor, who ends up in the arms of her best friend’s fiancé. Thus begins a stressed-out prenuptial succession of traumatic crises that threatens to destroy everyone involved, including Rachel and Darcy’s childhood friend Ethan (John Krasinski, from The Office), the unassuming nerd who really loves Rachel. If you have already begun to suspect that Something Borrowed may be something less than the sum of its parts–all of which do indeed seem borrowed from other movies and TV rom-coms too numerous to mention–you are right. But when all else fails, there is always Ms. Goodwin.
With the exception of Goldie Hawn’s daughter, Ms. Hudson, everyone concerned is from television, and it shows. Ms. Hudson may be the first featured name above the title, but it is Ms. Goodwin who steals the picture right out from under her. She steals just about every movie she’s in (she’s the only one I remember in He’s Just Not That Into You) with an emotional range camouflaged by charm-capped by a winning combination of querulous vitality, fresh radiance and subtle feelings simmering beneath a sunny surface. On a Hamptons weekend of beer, bonfires and pot, it is clear that the sexual tension is building between her and cover boy Dex, and it’s Ethan who provides the proverbial shoulder to lean on. Of course we all know how dangerous shoulders can be. (Don’t we?) By this time, only a cad would root for anyone but Ms. Goodwin. We want her to have everybody.
It’s hard to know how these people plan to solve their problems and have a better life when all they do is eat at Shake Shack and go to the beach every weekend, but the four larky, good-looking actors who keep Something Borrowed on its feet are the kind of rarefied company you’d like to know better. The director is Luke Greenfield; and the mostly hack-free script by Jennie Snyder Urman contains some funny lines that made me chuckle, and one in particular (“The Hamptons are like a zombie movie directed by Ralph Lauren” ) that made me laugh out loud.
Running time 112 minutes
Written by Jennie Snyder
Directed by Luke Greenfield
Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield, John Krasinski