While Something Borrowed isn’t the pinnacle of wedding-themed romantic-comedies, it does have one major upside: Finally bringing Ginnifer Goodwin to the forefront as a leading actress. In this case, art imitates life: Goodwin, after spending years playing sidekicks and unresolved love interests, steps out of other actors’ shadows.
Most people know Goodwin’s first role as Margene, the youngest of Bill Henrick’s three wives on HBO’s polygamist drama Big Love, which ran from 2006-2011. She played Margene with fantastic naivete splashed with just enough self-awareness; of the three, we saw her mature the most from a giggly, oblivious kid to a woman with her own career and a newfound sense of independence. But I first learned of Goodwin on NBC’s Ed (2001-2004), where she played snarky nerd Diane Snyder, hopelessly in love with her best friend Warren Cheswick (Justin Long).
Diane was the quintessential high-school female nerd: Bespectacled, without fashion sense, but sharp as a whip and appreciated by her closest friends. Unfortunately, considering that Warren was always in love with his teacher and various other beauties around their hometown of Stuckeyville, Diane was forced to pick up the pieces after he’d embarrassed himself yet again. She too has her share of awkward moments, like when she gets nominated for “Ms. Stuckeyville” and her only friends are guys who aren’t able to see her as feminine.
Even in what was technically her first leading role, 2008′s ensemble rom-com He’s Just Not That Into You, Goodwin was one of many female actors, most of whom were more well-known: Scarlett Johnasson, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connolly. (Fun fact: In the movie, Goodwin reunites with her Ed co-star Long, who plays her love interest.)
In Something Borrowed, Goodwin plays Rachel, the self-sacrificing second fiddle to Darcy (Kate Hudson). The thing is, she’s been in love with Darcy’s fiance Dex (Colin Egglesfield) for years, and although she’s wracked by guilt when they sleep together, in exploring their romance behind Darcy’s back, Rachel begins to come into her own as she starts to stand up for what she wants and what she deserves. Compared to other romantic comedy leads, Rachel is appropriately flawed, but still someone we can root for — the perfect role for Goodwin.
Plus, she’s appeared on Robot Chicken, on which her sister works as an animator, voicing stars like Amanda Bynes and Pamela Anderson. You can’t help but love a girl with that kind of humor.