Google the 2011 movie Something Borrowed, and you might see a summary that reads: “A romantic comedy about a sweet New York girl who must choose between love and friendship.” Like many things on the internet, this description is overrated and inaccurate… mostly because this movie isn’t about love or friendship, nor is anyone categorically sweet. This is a movie about assholes — attractive and rich assholes who hang out with other attractive and rich assholes and who make asshole decisions.
First thing’s first: The movie, which is based on the book of the same name by Emily Giffin, focuses on Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin), a single attorney, who, after one drink too many at her 30th birthday party, falls into bed with her longtime crush, Dex (Colin Egglesfield), who happens to be engaged to her best friend, Darcy (Kate Hudson). However, there’s more to this one-night stand.
Rachel and Dex actually have feelings for each other, threatening to destroy the women’s lifelong friendship. Then there’s Rachel’s and Darcy’s childhood friend, Ethan (John Krasinski), who harbors his own crush on Rachel — not to mention some hardcore resentment towards Darcy.
So, there’s a lot going on in this movie, and most of it isn’t great. Yet I still find myself watching Something Borrowed every time I need to curl up in a ball on the couch and veg out and not think about the other things in my life, like maybe IRL assholes I might be dealing with.
Perhaps it’s the innate charm of the cast who, despite their vapid and annoying characters, manages to make the characters digestible and add some humor to a script that is bland and a little bit all over the place when it comes to tone. Is this a rom-com or a cheesy drama with some cornball moments (like a dance interlude to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It”) thrown in for good measure? Who knows? Who cares! The movie is forgettable enough not to waste time quibbling over such matters.
But for those familiar with the comedy (and I use that term loosely), here are my thoughts on these characters and their over-the-top quadrangle more than a decade after the movie’s release.
We’re supposed to think Rachel is the cutest and sweetest thing because she’s played by Goodwin, but let’s not forget she’s also the biggest doormat. And doormats are always recipes for being a true disaster.
When it comes to her friendship with Darcy, Rachel has allowed her friend (who I can only assume is a Leo) to steamroll her for decades, causing her to place herself secondary in every situation she finds herself in with Darcy — including encouraging Dex to date Darcy. Rachel has always loved Dex, but because she doesn’t really love herself (not to go too psycho-analytical here, but I imagine she must have some serious self-esteem issues to continue a toxic friendship with someone as self-absorbed as Darcy), she doesn’t express her feelings to him.
That is until she gets good and drunk, and even then, Rachel wants to put Darcy first. At this point, yes, Darcy and Dex are engaged, but almost everything out of Rachel’s mouth is about Darcy and what she will think/feel/do, etc. Not once does Rachel put her own needs first or even express her needs or even what she wants, making her feel not just blah but also a little sus. How can you trust someone who doesn’t know what they want?
I know we’re supposed to think Rachel is this fantastic friend who would never double-cross her friend, but it all strikes me as a little cloying and, honestly, pathetic. Also, I don’t buy that Rachel is that sweet. She continues to hide her tryst from her supposed best friend, never fessing up to what happened or taking responsibility, and even goes behind Darcy’s back and sleeps with Dex a second time! Rachel only confesses because Darcy figures out what happened between her and Dex and confronts her about it.
Because of Darcy’s overt narcissism, I think we were supposed to forgive or overlook Rachel’s flaws — but I certainly didn’t. Lying to your best friend and cheating with her fiance isn’t a good look, even if you did love him first. So, yes, I think Rachel’s an asshole.
Just one look at this guy, and you know he’s an asshole. He’s so handsome he could pass as a young Tom Cruise in his TAPS days, but that doesn’t make him an asshole. He’s an asshole because he lacks integrity.
He doesn’t go after the woman he wants and then proceeds to date and propose to a woman he doesn’t love. Right from the start, you can tell Dex just puts up with Darcy the way men do when they shop with their girlfriends. They don’t want to be there, but they feel like they “have to be” to be a “good” man, so they’ll sit on a lawn chair in Target and play Wordle. Yuck. It’s being a phony baloney to the tee, and Dex is good at it, especially wearing pastel polo shirts and white shorts.
Does he even like wearing those clothes? I mean, he doesn’t even like his career as an attorney! But he continues to practice law and keep his engagement to Darcy — despite his feelings for Rachel — because why? Some sort of weird obligation to his sick mother? Because she will get sicker if he finds true happiness? Explain that one to me.
Either way, Dex is a coward and doesn’t live his truth, so I guess you can’t be totally surprised that he cheats on his fiancee. Twice. He gives Rachel false hope that he will choose her and doesn’t, sends her flowers after embarrassing her, and chooses Darcy again. Then he breaks up with Darcy on the day of their wedding?! This guy’s emotionally manipulative, confused, and, yes, an asshole.
The caustic and sarcastic remarks, not to mention his weird hate for Darcy, is enough to classify Ethan as a jerk. Someone should’ve told John Krasinski this isn’t The Office — you can’t pull that Jim stuff without Dwight or Pam around, sorry.
If that wasn’t annoying enough, his treatment of Claire (Ashley Johnson, who, by the way, I think is the funniest person in the cast) after their one-night stand is so cringe; I don’t care how much he cares about Rachel, it makes me wonder if Ethan even knows how to care about anyone except himself.
So it’s really easy to call Darcy an asshole because she’s the most obvious one out of the bunch. She’s loud, brash, selfish, and self-absorbed. Everything is about Darcy, and everyone knows this, including Darcy. She makes Rachel’s 30th birthday party all about her, she cheats on Dex, she makes fun of Ethan.
But here’s the thing: At least Darcy owns the fact that she’s an asshole. Do I think she would classify herself as one? Not really. But she knows who she is, she owns who she is, and she doesn’t apologize for it, and that’s more than I can say for the rest of ’em. If there’s anyone I want to succeed more, it’s Darcy. And if we had gotten that sequel we were promised, I would’ve loved to see it.