Something Borrowed adapts the inexplicably popular novel from author Emily Giffin into a shallow film in which the characters are nothing more than archetypes ticking off romantic comedy cliches. It is presented on Blu-ray with very good video and audio quality and a collection of extras that, aside from a series of mildly amusing deleted scenes, are large in number but lacking in depth.
Directed By: Luke Greenfield
Starring: Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin, John Krasinski, Colin Egglesfield, Steve Howey, Ashley Williams
The Film **
Adapted from the popular novel of the same name by Emily Giffin, Something Borrowed tells the story of Rachel (Goodwin), who, after a mostly uncomfortable evening spent at a surprise 30th birthday party thrown for her by her lifelong best friend Darcy (Hudson), finds herself unexpectedly hooking up with Dex (Egglesfield), the man she had a crush on through law school. This development is greatly complicated by the fact that Dex is Darcy's fiance. Wracked with guilt and confusion, Rachel is torn between pursuing Dex at the likely cost of her best friend or backing off and possibly abandoning the man of her dreams.
The terms "Chick Lit" and "Chick Flick" are frequently derided for being broadly dismissive and pejorative. I presume the reason for this is because they automatically lump diverse and interesting stories from a female perspective together with films like Something Borrowed. Fans of author Giffin and the source novel will no doubt remain impervious to my criticism, and there is about as much chance for me to dissuade them from seeing the film as there is of me convincing anyone that I am in its target demographic (a phenomenon of film criticism I call "The Tyler Perry Dilemma"). I recommend that any such fans add an extra two stars to my review and simply move on to the video, audio, and special features assessments. For readers who are not fans of the book or pre-disposed to enjoy the film for any other reason, I present the following paragraph:
The moral dilemma at the film's center is used to string together a series of cliches punctuated by sitcommish one-liners and soap opera acting. Ginnifer Goodwin rises slightly above the fray to provide a likable protagonist. John Krasinski manages to tread water in a role that is mostly comic relief, and Steve Howey is one dimensionally amusing in a role that is exclusively comic relief. Kate Hudson does not fare nearly as well, largely due to the fact that her character is an annoying archetype who treats her friends terribly with nary a suggestion of hidden depths. Colin Egglesfield also fails to bring a spark of personality to his milquetoast hunk. The end result is a film in which viewers will have little interest or sympathy for two-thirds of the love triangle driving its plot.
The Video ****
The 1080p high definition presentation approximates the film's original theatrical aspect ratio by filling the entire 16:9 frame and is encoded via the AVC codec. The presentation was generally very strong with a natural, film-like appearance through most of the running time, although certain scenes seem to have an intentionally elevated contrast which leads to lower detail in dark areas of the image. The video is also slightly marred by infrequent occurrences of flickering artifacts that appear along some vertical edges on highly detailed shots such as those establishing the New York City skyline.
The Audio ****
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless encoding of the film's soundtrack presents a better than average sound mix for a talky romantic comedy with outstanding fidelity (from the audio, not so much from the characters in the film). The surrounds are used strategically and skillfully for music envelopment and occasional discrete effects. The score is very well recorded with a wide stereo spread and very good resolution. Dolby Digital 5.1 alternate language dubs are provided in French and Spanish.
The Extras **
When the disc is first played, the viewer is greeted with the following skippable promos presented in AVC encoded video:
- Dolphin Tale Theatrical Trailer (1:47 - Dolby Digital 2.0 sound)
- Crazy Stupid Love Blu-ray/DVDTrailer (2:14 - Dolby Digital 5.1 sound)
Proper extras consist of a series of video features that are large in number, but, aside from a collection of deleted scenes, frustratingly shallow in length and depth. All are presented in AVC-encoded high definition video with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound:
Something ... Old (3:50 - Dolby Digital 2.0) features the cast and crew offering their personal reflections on turning 30. On-camera comments are offered by Ginnifer Goodwin ("Rachel), Producer Hilary Swank, Author Emily Giffin, John Krasinski ("Ethan"), Producer Molly Mickler Smith, Director Luke Greenfield, Kate Hudson ("Darcy"), Colin Egglesfield ("Dex), Steve Howey ("Marcus"), Ashley Williams ("Claire"), Producer Andrew Kosove, Producer Broderick Johnson, Producer Aaron Lubin,
On Location Tours with Emily Giffin (4:51 - Dolby Digital 2.0) Follows Author Emily Giffin around through a day in which she appears on the Today Show and meets with a bus full of contest winning fans in New York City. On-camera comments on Giffin's life and work are offered by Giffin and various fans.
Marcus' Guide to the Ladies (6:41 - Dolby Digital 2.0) features actor Steve Howey in character as Marcus offering tongue in cheek advice about what women want in the form of four "Lessons".
What is "Something Borrowed" (1:46 - Dolby Digital 2.0) offers reflections on the film and the wedding tradition that gives it its name from Hudson, Goodwin, Krasinski, Egglesfield, Swank.
Left off the Guest List (7:38 - Dolby Digital 2.0) is a collection of four deleted scenes
- Rachel and Darcy meet outside of a bridal shop. The scene was probably deleted because it features Darcy asking a vague question that sounds like she knows about Rachel and Dex which turns out to be not about that at all. This gimmick was already used multiple times in other parts of the movie.
- An extended slapstick sequence in the Hamptons in which Dex gets locked out of the Beach House while hiding from Darcy
- An extended conversation on a date between Dex and Rachel in which Rachel tells a story about her and Darcy's history with Ethan
- A scene in London between Ethan and Rachel in which it is revealed that the story from the previous deleted scene did not go down exactly as Rachel understood it. It was probably deleted because of another more efficient scene in which it is revealed that Darcy had been deceiving Rachel about something for several years.
Inside "Something Borrowed" (2:31) Another brief overview of the film from the cast and filmmakers. On camera comments are offered by Hudson, Goodwin, Egglesfield, Johnson, Smith, Kosove, Howey, Greenfield, Swank.
Gag Reel (5:34) is a somewhat amusing series of outtakes featuring breakdowns, flubs, and various bits of alternate dialog from blown or thrown away takes.
Finally, as with most Blu-rays of Warner theatrical new releases, this two-disc set also includes a SD DVD with Digital Copy which includes both a bare bones SD DVD presentation of the film with Dolby Digital 5.1 English, French, and Spanish audio and a choice of English SDH, French, or Spanish subtitles and a choice of either a Windows Media or iTunes digital copy of the film for portable media devices.
The disc is enclosed in a standard Blu-ray case with die-cut holes to reduce plastic use and an extra hub on the inner left side allowing it to accommodate the SD DVD/digital copy disc as well as the BD of the film. The only insert is a sheet with the code to unlock the iTunes or Windows Media digital copy. The hard case is enclosed in a cardboard slipcover which reproduces the same art with additional promotional text highlighting the SD DVD & digital copy.