Thursday Trailer Face-Off! Something Borrowed vs. Bridesmaids

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Published February 24, 2011

Welcome to Thursday Trailer Face-Off, a feature in which we cast a critical eye on two similar upcoming film releases, pitting them against each other across a variety of categories to determine which is most deserving of your two hours. This week: Something Borrowed and Bridesmaids, two lady-comedies about the most important event in a lady’s life (and, often, the most stressful event of her best friend’s life!), her wedding.

PremiseIn Something Borrowed, Ginnifer Goodwin plays a New York lawyer who never told her huge crush in law school (Colin Egglesfield) how she felt. So now, six years later, he’s marrying her best friend (Kate Hudson). Except, oh no, they spend a drunken night together—now what?! In Bridesmaids, Kristen Wiig plays the maid of honor to Maya Rudolph’s bride, and highjinks ensue when she meets the rest of the bridal party. There doesn’t seem to be a lot more to it—in Apatovian fashion, the premise of the film seems to be, “We got a bunch of funny people in a room to make jokes.” We’ll give it to Something Borrowed, for the effort. Advantage: Something Borrowed

Star PowerIf we were going on the leads alone, Something Borrowed would win—Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays lovably-beleaguered to such great effect on Big Love, appears to be doing much the same thing here. Saturday Night Live‘s overreliance on Kristen Wiig  has forced her to play nearly every female character; in our minds, that mean she’s a bit overexposed. But taking the supporting casts into consideration changes things. In addition to Hudson and Egglesfield (who?), Something Borrowed has John Krasinski as the supportive friend who will obviously reveal he’s in love with Goodwin—all of whom are nice enough. But they can’t compete with the female-comedy powerhouse cast of Bridesmaids: in addition to the reliably hilarious Rudolph, Bridesmaids boasts Ellie Kemper (The Office), Rose Byrne (Get Him to the Greek), Melissa McCarthy (Gilmore Girls), and the dearly departed Jill Clayburgh. Throw in Jon Hamm as Wiig’s boyfriend, and we’re sold. Advantage: Bridesmaids

HumorThe laughs in Something Borrowed fit the gentle romantic-comedy mold: Goodwin and Egglesfield meet cute when, in law school, he sits next to her and asks, “You don’t happen to have, like, four extra pens, do you?” Bridesmaids tends more towards the nonsequitur, as in the following exchange, when the ladies are discussing bachelorette-party options: “Versace meets… the Gold Rush.” “I’m thinking tanned gentlemen that swallow fire and wear sarongs.” “Female Fight Club! We grease up and, surprise, beat the crap out of her!” The humor is a little more biting and a little more awkward: “You’re so pretty,” Wiig tells Byrne upon first meeting her. “So cute! Did you come from work?!” Byrne replies. Something Borrowed puts more emphasis on the romantic half of “romantic comedy,” whereas Bridesmaids will take laughs wherever it can get them—including from McCarthy farting. Advantage: Bridesmaids

MusicThe music in the Something Borrowed trailer makes a lot of narrative sense: a pop song that sounds like watered-down New Wave, followed by a sweeping girl-power-type anthem in the tradition of “Unwritten” and what have you. That is exactly what we want to hear when we go to this kind of movie. Bridesmaids favors some hard rock replete with tons of power chords—which, along with the huge “FROM THE PRODUCER OF KNOCKED UP AND THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN” stamp that hits the trailer very early on (0:19), seems designed to convince bros that, hey, it’s okay to see a movie called Bridesmaids! While we applaud the mission, the methods feel a little disingenuous. Advantage: Something Borrowed

TitleThere are many things that Judd Apatow and his cadre excel at, but creative titling isn’t one of them. Here’s how we imagine it happens: “We still need a title,” someone reminds Apatow, three days before editing is set to wrap. “Oh, right,” he responds. “Well, this movie is about a 40-year-old virgin. Let’s call it… The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” “This one’s about a chick who got knocked up. So, Knocked Up.” And so on and so forth. Bridesmaids falls squarely into this camp: it’s a movie about bridesmaids. Something Borrowed (from the novel of the same name by Emily Giffin) is at least a little clever: it’s a wedding term, but also refers to the borrowed state of Hudson’s fiancé. Advantage: Something Borrowed

ActionBridesmaids features a montage that suggests there will be near-The Hangover-level adventures before Rudolph’s wedding: Kristen Wiig dances bizarrely, some kind of mishap with a chocolate fountain occurs, the bride falls on her duff in the street, and, for some reason, three Golden Retriever puppies yawn adorably. We’re interested! The action in Something Borrowed seems to involve a lot of sinking to the ground: Hudson and Egglesfield do it, sexy-like, on the beach; Goodwin does it, sad-like, in her apartment. And then there’s some hand-holding, some running on the dunes, some kind of romantic rooftop dinner with Goodwin and Egglesfield, and a bout of Hudson and Goodwin doing synchronized aerobic dancing in a living room. Advantage: Bridesmaids

DirectorPaul Feig of Bridesmaids is the Emmy-nominated co-creator of Freaks and Geeks (with Judd Apatow, who produced Bridesmaids), and he’s also directed some of the best episodes of The Office (“Office Olympics,” “Survivor Man,” “Niagara”) and Arrested Development, as well as one of our all-time favorite episodes of Mad Men. He also has our all-time favorite Twitter feed. The man can handle comedy. The best we can say about Luke Greenfield, of Something Borrowed, is that maybe this is his shot at the big leagues. The worst we can say is that he directed horrible Elisha Cuthbert movie The Girl Next Door and the Rob Schneider vehicle The Animal. So… that’s what you need to know about Luke Greenfield. Advantage: Bridesmaids

VerdictThere is definitely a place for Something Borrowed: it’s a movie to take your mom to on Mother’s Day, if you’re feeling generous, or to see on a random Saturday when you don’t have other plans. We’re sure it’s just fine, a perfectly pleasant movie! But Bridesmaids actually warrants getting excited about: it’s so rare to see an ensemble cast of funny women in a movie directed by one of the most nuanced, sympathetic comedic directors working today. (Again, we’d like to plug his Twitter.) Winner: Bridesmaids