Why is it that the only time we see women on screen as central characters in movies lately, they are talking diamond clarity and wedding caterers?
So it is with Something Borrowed. To paraphrase one of its few laughs, it's a zombie movie directed by Vera Wang.
Not literally. Luke Greenfield, in fact, directed this dull prenup romantic triangle. It stars Kate Hudson as Darcy, smug bride-to-be, and Ginnifer Goodwin as Rachel, submissive maid of honor, who belatedly realizes, oops!, she's in love with Dex (Colin Egglesfield), the charmless groom.
This eternity of glossily art-directed indecision is based on the popular novel by Emily Giffin and comes perilously close to being an unofficial sequel to Bride Wars.
Like that film, also starring Hudson as an alpha kitten clawing at anything that comes between her and her ball of yarn, this one is less about the love between man and woman than about competitive girlfriending.
Hudson seizes the role of unsympathetic golden girl with both sharply manicured hands. Her Darcy is exasperating, exhausting and, in stretches, entertaining. You can see why the pushy blonde and pushover brunette are bosom buds: Rachel's deference confirms Darcy's command.
In the trickier role of Rachel, Goodwin looks as though she's carrying 30 years of resentment in the crown of her very bad wig. Watching this enormously appealing actress progress from pushover to pushbacker should be satisfying. But even when she finally asks for what she wants, Goodwin's Rachel is terminally tentative, a quality that may read better on the page than it plays on the screen, where action is everything.
Would that another actor than the charisma-challenged Egglesfield had played Dex. This is a generic smile, not a guy who comes between best friends of 25 years. Much better is squirrelly John Krasinski as Ethan, Rachel's best male friend and cheerleader. He has genuine screen presence and more than one dimension. That's more than can be said for a film that fails to dramatize its intriguing premise. Namely, how do you make the Sophie's Choice between your best friend and your soulmate?
Contact movie critic Carrie Rickey at 215-854-5402 or firstname.lastname@example.org.