A movie can be so bad that it can somehow become good again. “Something Borrowed” is not one of those movies, but despite my cynical sensibilities, I absorbed the film like an unquenchable sponge. Essentially, it’s about two life-long, but totally different besties. An imminent wedding. An unspoken love. Lying. Cheating. Choices to be made! You know, the standard cinematic experience.
But, what totally saved the film was good ole John Krasinski. That little cutie pie is always welcome at my table. But seriously, I don’t want to gush, but as an actor he is endearing, humorous, and and wholly likeable. He is good as a lead, like in “Away We Go” or “Leatherheads” but he’s perfect in supporting roles, like “It’s Complicated” or this little gem of which I am currently speaking. Every time he comes onscreen it’s like “Thank God you’re here, Kate Hudson can hardly move her face, and she’s stinking up the joint with her acting”. But then again, I’ve had a soft-spot for him ever since “The Office”, a program I have a particular fondness for.
When I lived in the yellow apartment that overlooked the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, I had a neighbour named Glenn. We met, not as most neighbours do, in the staircase, or in the lobby, but when I knocked on his door with a crisis. A fashion crisis. As I recall, he stood there, in a backwards cap, shorts and a hockey jersey. I was wearing a ghastly kimono, but was fretting over which shoes to wear with the ghastly kimono. He stared at my feet, frowning at the thought of having to choose. He made his suggestion, and I offered my thanks, spun around and went back to my apartment.
And then we were friends.
He was much older than I, in his forties when I was in my twenties. He worked from home, and had his finger on the pulse as to what interesting music was out there. He downloaded scads of amazing albums–of fantastic artists that no one has ever heard of. I’m going to age myself a bit here, but this was in a time when it was relativity unheard of to get television programs on the internet. But this guy…my god, this guy had anything you ever wanted to watch ever. You make a vague reference to a album you haven’t heard in years and the next day it would be taped to the front door. It was an education is popular culture. We developed a mutual fondness over the American version of “The Office. I was seriously into the will-they or won’t-they storyline with Jim and Pam.
My poor neighbour was having his own will-they or won’t-they concerns about us. But to me, he was the best friend a girl could have. Which of course, is the last thing a man with a crush wants to hear. I once came home with another man, and as I was walking up the drive, I noticed my neighbour peeking out the window. He was watching us like he was the Grinch sneering over Whoville. And it was then that I knew that we couldn’t really be friends.
And as you do in your early twenties, when faced with discomfort or adversity, you shove a handwritten note under the door explaining why you can’t hang out anymore. And then, the waters were muddied, and I lost a kindred spirit. But then again, it does tie into the notion that men and women can not truly be friends.
Jim and Pam were friends, Harry and Sally were friends. In “Something Borrowed” , Rachel is mooning over her best friend’s fiance, (who in flashbacks we learn was equally as smitten with her and equally as incompetent as her to make a move). Meanwhile Rachel has a wise-cracking, super supportive friend in Ethan, who–(I’m spoiling it, don’t worry, it’s not much of a surprise) professes his love to her, saying “You are home to me”. And she’s like, “Yeah…but I’d really rather just break up this engagement because that makes for a better movie”.
And it breaks your heart when someone professes their love to you. You wish that you could accept it. Love them because they love you. Because you already know them. Because they live next door. Because it would be easy. But the heart wants what it wants, and in that equation, there are an awful lot of nice guys who confess romantic feelings, and are rejected for the sake of some jack-ass that will never treat her like they would have.
I bumped into Glenn a few weeks later, in the stairwell. I was heading down with books, he was coming up with groceries.
“Hello”, I smile.
“Hi”, his response is so terse it comes out almost as a ‘h!”.
“How are things?
There’s a silence, and the awkward jingling of keys.
“How’s…how’s everything going with Jim?…With Jim and Pam?
He smirked. “They just can’t seem to work it out”.
“Who can?” I shrugged.
“Maybe…come round and catch up…with Jim and Pam”.
“I’d like that”.
And I barreled down the stairs, off to catch the bus. I knew I’d stop by that night, sit on his couch and watch “The Office”. I knew that we’d be friendly again, but not really friends. We did not belong to each other, we were simply on loan. Something borrowed until the real thing came along.