What makes a chick flick click? The vulnerable heroine must be someone you can identify with, someone with identifiable character flaws who learns a valuable lesson during her emotional journey. There has to be a hunky hero, plus some loyal female friends and at least one quirky guy, whose dialogue is often loaded with laugh lines. Basically, it’s a relationship story – with a happy ending.
When she turns 30, Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin), an attorney at a top Manhattan law firm, is given a surprise party by her lifelong best friend Darcy (Kate Hudson), who’s also celebrating her upcoming wedding to outrageously handsome Dex (Colin Egglesfield, who looks like a young Tom Cruise), whom Rachel has known since law school. After vivacious, life-of-the-party Darcy drinks too much, previously platonic Rachel and Dex wind up in bed. So that’s the dilemma: Darcy’s best-friend and her fiancé suddenly discover they’re attracted to each other, leaving Rachel torn between her loyalty to Darcy and her long-repressed love for Dex.
Rachel’s astute confidante Ethan (John Krasinski) serves as her conscience, particularly when they all take a summer beach house together in Southhampton, along with womanizing Marcus (Steve Howie) and crazy Clare (Ashley Williams). Like “Sex and the City,” what’s interesting is how the characters emerge, as they vacillate in their willingness to be honest with one another and take chances. Good-hearted yet weak-willed Rachel has always allowed petty, petulant, demanding Darcy to run roughshod over her, while Dex repeatedly demonstrates that he doesn’t have much of a backbone.
Based on Emily Griffin’s best-selling novel, riffing on the bridal adage – “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” – this comedic romance is adapted by Jessie Snyder Urman and directed by Luke Greenfield. While the complicated plot is admittedly formulaic, utilizing too many flashbacks, there are some unexpectedly tantalizing twists, including a hilariously harrowing badminton game. And Emily Griffin appears on a bench in Madison Square Park.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Something Borrowed” is a soul-searching 7 – this chick flick really clicks.