Something Borrowed
You’d expect a movie with the title “Something Borrowed” to be about a wedding. You’d be right. You’d also expect it to be something of a chick flick. Right again. You’d further expect the rom-com to be plot-predictable, in that the primary relationship is going to hit plenty of bumps and snags before the right couple gets together at last. And you’d still be right. So where’s the suspense? Well, let’s just say we traded it in to focus on the character development.
Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a single lawyer in New York who just turned 30. Her best friend since childhood is Darcy (Kate Hudson), the kind of person who sweeps into a room and demands everyone’s attention. She’s bubbly and effervescent and charming and cute and adds spark and liveliness to any gathering. And she’s not as shallow as her “party persona” would suggest. But she is so stunningly self-centered that she doesn’t even notice when her best friend is falling for her fiancée, Dex (Colin Egglesfield).
Rachel and Dex forgot to tell each other when they were study partners in law school that they had a “crush” on each other (there’s something vaguely junior high-ish about this premise, but we’ll go with it for the sake of the story). Now the big wedding between Dex and Darcy is imminent, and, as Fate, or Circumstance, would have it, Rachel and Dex find an opportunity to demonstrate their affection for each other.
OK, great, now what? Break the engagement? They’d both feel guilty. Go on with the wedding plans as if nothing had happened? They’d both spend the rest of their lives wondering “what if”. Try to find some time by themselves to discover if there really is something irresistible there? Ah, but how to discern the excitement of the clandestine rendezvous from the early indications of a good relational fit? And if they’re so willing to “cheat” now, what would guarantee that they wouldn’t do the same to each other later?
And, to make matters worse, Dex has a very perceptive father, whom he loves and respects, who tells him that this “little experiment” of his has to stop, and that that’s not the kind of men they are in this family. Well, it’s laudable to see a father actually hold his grown son accountable to his commitments. But would a good Dad also understand when his oblivious offspring is about to wander into a big mistake? And would he love him enough to warn him about embarking on a marriage out of duty rather than love?
Yes, indeed, we do weave tangled webs. This film is all about the ambivalence in all the characters. (We find out later that Darcy has had her doubts all along about the engagement, as well, and has managed to act out some of those insecurities.) In fact, everyone is so uncertain how they really feel that they keep telling each other to make a firm decision, presumably so the rest of them could figure out what they need to do.
Meanwhile, there’s the loyal buddy of Rachel, Ethan (John Krasinski), the obligatory emasculated male friend who’s constantly wishing their relationship could go to the next level, but it ain’t gonna happen. So, since we can’t root for the sensible one, we’ll have to try to turn our affection toward either the flighty one, the indecisive one, or the ones afraid to tell others about their true feelings. Hmm, does anybody else miss a good car chase scene?
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Co-Pastor, United Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas