Here’s Something Borrowed from the perspective of a male, certainly the polar opposite of the target audience: Kate Hudson plays Kate Hudson, soon to be married to a poor mans Tom Cruise. Kate Hudson’s (the character, a term used loosely) best friend Ginnifer Goodwin has the hots for the Tom Cruise guy. That one dude from The Office pops in, replacing the traditional female advice giver, romance happens where it shouldn’t, and awkwardness ensues.
That’s it, following an outline of romantic comedy school 101 with no unique sensibilities or the capabilities to realize that it’s been done before. Nearly all of Something Borrowed’s humor comes from those quirky conversations where Goodwin thinks Hudson has caught onto the fact that she did that “something” with Hudson’s Tom Cruise look-a-like, but of course it’s always something else.
Something Borrowed might as well throw its comedic talent into a dumpster, a film grossly unaware that is has funny people in the cast. The film certainly isn’t casting against the type; these movies never do. The screen adaptation written by Jennie Snyder never seems to put two and two together, the movie trudging through familiar waters, forcing the drama, and milking the romance.
It begins to spiral into a pit of repetition, Tom Cruise guy falling for Goodwin, they have the dialogue tree where they both admit it can’t be, and start the process over with Hudson gleefully unaware. It’s not so much a relationship so much as it is an excuse to flood the screen with heartache while making the two people who haven’t seen this material before weep uncontrollably.
Hollywood loves this story of the terminally single 30-year old meeting the perfect stock male archetype. They’re cast for looks first, because these movies can never feature the outcast, and the story is built around them. It’s marketing genius really, the studios finding a means to adapt a continual stream of romantic familiarity to the screen. If the release slate calls for one but no suitable novel exists, they dip into their own pool of dreck, cast Kate Hudson again, and spend $30 million to craft the same story they’ve told 26 times in 2011 already. Something Borrowed is a meaningless mix of the novel/film romantic comedy concept, and it brings them together without an ounce of wit or freshness.
Oh Warner, you silly studio. Are we back to the sub-par, bitrate starved BD-25 issue again? If Something Borrowed is the indication, yes, we certainly are. This two hour clunker is pushed onto a disc with about five gigs to spare, the less than optimal bitrate crushing the grain structure. You know why most casual viewers have a negative opinion of grain? Discs like this. It swarms the image, not as a natural extension of the film stock, but a dreadfully inadequate haze of noise. When it spikes, look out. It looks like dots crawling all over the actors.
It picks up the fine detail and finds itself totally unable to properly display it. Hardly anything comes through, and the compression makes some of the stock aerials of New York look like a muddy mess. Medium shots appear unmistakably digital, and close-ups can only reproduce what was shot in a handful of sequences. High-fidelity detail simply isn’t here at the level it should be.
That’s not the only problem Something Borrowed will fight with, battling it out with a needlessly aggressive case of black crush. A sequence in the back of a cab with Goodwin and the Tom Cruise guy appears as two floating heads, their black casual dress outfits blending with the interior. The disc couldn’t afford to lose much more detail.
Colors are at least elevated for some level of eye candy, although they do not play nice with the flesh tones. Hudson may be getting ready for a wedding, a tan appropriate, yet she’s blazingly orange throughout much of the movie. That doesn’t explain the ancillary characters either. They all must be in full wedding mode. Everything else is acceptable, given some intensity just for the sake of it. The abhorrent artifacting thankfully doesn’t lead to any outlandish bleeding.
We have arrived. Err, let’s explain that. Certainly, everyone bought their home theaters capable of decoding DTS-HD just so they could hear Kate Hudson moan in the right surround speaker, right? Isn’t this what you were waiting for?
At the very least, that’s about all Something Borrowed will provide in terms of its rear speaker usage. New York is presented as a drab, barren wasteland even if it’s obviously crowded, and the music amongst the numerous parties and clubs are sustained in the fronts. The low-end will at least provide a boost, a significant throb right from the start as Goodwin walks into a surprise party.
Dialogue remains positioned dead center, never finding an escape route to another channel. It’s consistent, balanced well, and reproduced with a full bodied clarity. The mix shows signs of life if nothing else, yet misses out on some marginal potential.
Extras may seem plentiful but they’re terrible. On Location with Emily Griffin follows the book’s author as she tours New York. Marcus’ Guide to the Ladies is an in-character piece from Steve Howey on how he picks up women. What is Something Borrowed has cast and crew discussing what they believe the title means, and most don’t even have a clue.
Four deleted scenes are deleted for a reason, while Inside Something Borrowed is a pointless recap of the plot for two minutes. A gag reel is the best thing here, while Something.. Old details the cast’s ideas on turning 30. In total, it’s about a half hour of content, and not a single bit having any bite.