Quick Takes: Something Borrowed, The Beaver

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SOMETHING BORROWED (*1/2)

Just when you think Hollywood couldn't produce another stupid romantic comedy, along comes Something Borrowed.  The big warning sign here is the involvement of Kate Hudson, who has, by now, squandered every ounce of goodwill she gained from Almost Famous back in '00.  I don't think she's technically playing the same annoying character she did in the equally crappy Bride Wars, but it sure seems that way.  Here, Hudson is paired up with Ginnifer Goodwin, a likeable actress (Big Love's Margene!) stuck playing a horribly irritating character.  The romantic triangle in the movie centers around the talentless, Wes Bentley-looking Colin Egglesfield (of the ill-fated Melrose Place remake).  The movie dares to ask the question, can an audience enjoy a romantic comedy if they hate everybody in it?  Answer: No.  The only redeeming factor is John Krasinski, who adds a smug charm to the film and gives some nice line deliveries in the not-gay, "gay best friend" role.  To quote Movieline, Something Borrowed - no, more like something blew. 
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THE BEAVER (***)
Jodie Foster's new dramedy has been overshadowed by the personal meltdown of its leading man Mel Gibson.  Rather than detract from one's enjoyment of this movie, however, Gibson's off-screen antics color and inform his character in The Beaver, adding an extra layer of richness that wouldn't otherwise be there.  This is a small yet interesting movie about a suicidally depressed husband and father, who finds therapeutic release in talking through a beaver hand-puppet.  Gibson is terrific as Walter. capturing the character's utter isolation and inability to function, yet, through his use of the puppet, we get glimpses of the iconic, irresistible movie star we once knew.  Some of the family dramas are a bit forced and the thematic elements a tad heavy-handed.  The last third of the movie struggles to connect as the focus shifts away from Walter and onto his troubled son (Anton Yelchin).  Foster acquits herself nicely as director, but The Beaver is Gibson's movie through and through.

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  • Um...Kate Hudson's character in Bride Wars actually had a job (a lawyer, I think). In Something Borrowed, she has no apparent occupation. BIG difference. I'm amazed you didn't pick up on that.

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