Nice guys (or girls) finish last. At least that’s what Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) believes. All of her life, the serious, studious brunette has played second fiddle to her irrepressible and self-centered friend Darcy (Kate Hudson). While Rachel gets the good grades and a NYU law degree, Darcy ropes in the men, including Dex (Colin Egglesfield), Rachel’s study partner and secret crush.
Now six years later Dex and Darcy are preparing to waltz down the aisle with Rachel as the ever-sacrificing maid of honor doing all the boring wedding work—like writing the vows. But after Rachel’s surprise 30th birthday party (an event put on by Darcy who manages to keep most of the attention focused on herself for the entire evening), the old college study buddies end up in bed together.
One indiscretion might be redeemable but Dex and Rachel don’t have the backbone to confess their mistake. (They aren’t even honest with each other about their feelings.) Too shy to hold hands in public (probably a good thing since Dex is an engaged man), they still sneak behind Darcy’s back to have more illicit sex instead of coming clean with the bride-to-be. As the wedding date looms nearer, these two spineless attorneys flutter around in Darcy’s whirlwind of activities while affecting a supportive face for the nuptials.
From the sidelines, Ethan (John Krasinski), Darcy and Rachel’s longtime friend, watches with frustration. He badgers Rachel to tell Dex how she really feels and to demand a commitment from him. He even accompanies her to The Hamptons for several weekends to offer the moral support she needs. However, Rachel continues to surrender to the wishes of her gal pal while lying behind her back.
However dishonesty isn’t the only issue in this romantic comedy. Whether at home in New York or at the beach house, these young adults consume copious amounts of alcohol, often to the point of drunkenness. A pair of them also sneaks out of a bar to smoke an illegal substance. Casual sexual pursuits, while not frequently depicted on screen, seem to be the activity of choice for these friends who sleep their way around (or at least imply that they are). Along with sexual sounds and innuendo, the script contains repeated anatomical terms and crude sexual comments.
Initially, it seems understandable to cheer for the underdog, especially one as emotionally restrained as Rachel. But as the story progresses, it becomes obvious that much of her repression is self-inflicted and the cause of pain for a lot of other people as well. Unfortunately nice guys do finish last in this movie,but Rachel isn’t one of them.