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Tone deaf 

'Something Borrowed' strikes a dull chord.

'SOMETHING BORROWED': Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin star.
  • 'SOMETHING BORROWED': Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin star.

n Oh, my, what to do with Kate Hudson. If you were her friend in any of the movies in which she plays a post-sorority, status-hungry bride-to-be, you'd want to see her married off into oblivion, too. Get a ring around that finger, and maybe you get the shot glass out of her cleavage. In "Something Borrowed," as the aggressively narcissistic Darcy, she's the gal pal you wouldn't introduce to a gentleman. Yet that's just what her best friend Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) inadvertently does, and romance ensues. The resulting love triangle feels relatively authentic, but it doesn't contain enough wit or pith to make us much care what happens.

By the time "Something Borrowed" picks up the story, the trio's fate appears sealed: Dex (Colin Egglesfield) and Darcy, cheerfully betrothed, are anchoring a birthday party for Rachel, the attorney next door with a splash of mousy thrown in. She has an office with her name on the window but reaches her 30th feeling like she has wasted her 20s. (Note: Unless you truly wasted your 20s, you've wasted your 20s.) Seeing her despondent, Dex drags her out for one last drink, which leads to her confessing that she had a crush on him in law school, which leads to a cab ride backseat makeout session, which leads to him scrambling to find pants when they awake in her bed the next morning.

Apparently Dex, whose generic good looks recall a younger Tom Cruise frozen in onrushing headlights, never got around to noticing how much Rachel fancied him years earlier. Now the quandary: Does he stand pat with the firecracker blonde? Or ditch for the adorable brunette?

Usually romantic comedies in this mold string the audience along, letting us wonder whether it was a one-off mistake or something more until the obvious is allowed to happen. To its credit "Something Borrowed" doubles down fairly early: Dex and Rachel dig each other, and because Dex is neither a wildebeest tamer nor Brett Michaels, he's clearly better off with Rachel than with Darcy. But Darcy, through all her flailing, is still Dex's fiancee and Rachel's best friend. At least the film gives us enough credit to consider the real repercussions a maid of honor shagging the groom a few weeks before the wedding. Dex's blue blood (a glimpse of the wedding invite reveals that he's a III) won't let him behave like a red-blooded romantic that easily.

"Something Borrowed" leaves its secondary characters to commit most of the laughs. Ashley Williams is a quiet scene-stealer as a sex-hungry bridesmaid with her eye on Ethan (The Office's John Krasinski, sans his usual understated cockiness), the good-natured writer friend who keeps his hands to himself but dispenses advice freely. Steve Howey is a relief as a horndog stoner named Marcus, whose irrepressible bastardism offers some low-hanging chuckles.

Yes, there are some grins here. But ultimately the downfall of "Something Borrowed" is its tone. Its treacle-y piano score hints that we need a hankie, but the 1994-vintage soundtrack urges its target demographic to remember its first high school keg party. It also never quite figures out its stance on its settings, New York City and the Hamptons. Gotham used to grow cinema's most vibrant characters, its boldest ideas. Now director Luke Greenfield can only distinguish himself as an anti-Scorsese, a non-Rob Reiner, a Woody Allen't. Aside from a couple of giddy aerial shots at sunset, there's not a single concept or view of New York here befitting the city's stature. No one you meet in this movie is motivated by a Real Thought of any kind. Instead, these bland, hollow people are Greek Weeking their way though the capital of the world with a solipsistic nonchalance that gives even brain-dead bourgeoisie a bad name. They muffle the drama of "Something Borrowed," but to be fair, at least it was jerks like these who once succeeded in making "Cloverfield" such a smashing comedy.

Sam Eifling

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