Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In Which Trai Reviews 'Something Borrowed: The Movie'

This is so, so late and I apologize, but the good news is that I'm done with my semester! Summer break is here and I have invited a new member into my reading family: my new Kobo, who I have christened TARDIS. With TARDIS on hand, I have access to tons of library eBooks, to say the least! Now onto the movie review!

I reviewed the novel Something Borrowed last June, and have since become a great fan of Giffin's writing. She explores very complex emotional situations with depth and sincerity, and I could easily identify with Giffin's protagonist, Rachel. I was really looking forward to seeing the movie after seeing the trailer, and the movie definitely didn't disappoint.

A brief recap of the plot: Rachel White met Dex Thaler in law school, and while she always had a crush on him, she never admitted it to Dex, and came to regret it when her always-one-better best friend, Darcy Rhone, claimed him for her own, beginning a relationship with him almost as soon as Rachel introduces them.

Fast forward to Rachel's thirtieth birthday. Darcy and Dex's wedding is fast approaching, and Rachel is the maid of honor. After one too many drinks, Rachel and Dex end up in a cab together after everyone else has gone home, and they kiss... and then find themselves in bed together the next morning. They could both put the incident behind them as a drunken mistake, except that they realize they weren't that drunk, and that they might, in fact, have feelings for each other. They begin an affair even as the wedding date approaches, but therein lies the rub: is Dex really going to cancel the wedding, or will Rachel end up brokenhearted?

I think I did end up having one problem here--while Rachel and Dex are likable people and well-played by Ginnifer Goodwin and Colin Egglesfield, I couldn't help remembering that, well, I liked Something Blue better just because I found Ethan (John Krasinski, the absolute highlight of the movie) and Darcy (Kate Hudson, convincingly bitchy) to be a more compelling pair. As I watched the movie, I couldn't help but remember that Rachel and Dex just weren't as vibrant and fun to read about as Ethan and Darcy. Some of that comes through on the screen. We don't quite get the same sense of their personalities as we do from the book, where we become more intimately familiar with Rachel's thoughts and feelings, and get a better sense of the time she spends with Dex.

With that aside, though, I loved almost everything about how the movie turned out. As I said above, I adored how Ethan was portrayed. John Krasinski does an absolutely hilarious job and I approved the filmmakers' choice to condense Hillary and Ethan into one character. It always did feel a little too unbelievable to me to have two people in Rachel's life know about and encourage the affair. Krasinski really did make the viewer see Ethan's concern for Rachel, and their friendship was played beautifully, except for one big divergence from the book.

** Spoilers Ahoy! **

Ethan admits fairly late in the movie that he has feelings for Rachel, or did in the past. It's meant to be a parallel to Rachel always being second to Darcy in people's affections--that in Rachel's, Ethan is second to Dex--but it just felt too forced to me. I totally believed him as her best friend, but not as someone who'd always been secretly in love with her. Then again, his confession scene made my mother cry, so your mileage may vary!

** End Spoilers. **

Arguably, the most important dynamic in the movie is between Darcy and Rachel, and I think the movie nailed it. The sleepover and dance routine scene from the novel was kept, and worked really well. We get that same sense of Rachel's conflicted loyalties--her love for Dex as well as her friendship with Darcy, despite how badly Darcy has treated her over the years. Their friendship was shown so effectively that I was crying during the confrontation scene, and felt truly sad at seeing the friendship end, because even though the friendship was toxic, Darcy and Rachel had still been friends, period. Kudos to Goodwin and Hudson.

There was definitely some comedy thrown in, to fit in with the genre, but I really did laugh at it. I loved Rachel pulling a muscle "near her vagina" in the club, and Ethan's remarks ("Shit! Why am I in this?!" at the slideshow in the beginning, his explanation to Claire on why he can't be with her) often made the scenes he was in. Romantic comedies can be silly and even stupid at times, but I actually did enjoy the humor in this one.

Overall, I really think that fans of Giffin's novel will be well pleased at the result, just as I was. If anything, see it to raise the chance that Something Blue gets made (and stay for the credits; there's a teaser there!), because after seeing their performances in this movie, I'm truly eager to see Krasinski and Hudson reunite as a romantic pair! Very much recommended to fans of the book.

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