Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Movie Review ((500) Days of Summer)

(500) Days of Summer (2009)
Director - Marc Webb
Runtime - 95 min; PG-13

Tom Hansen - Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Summer Finn - Zooey Deschanel

It took me almost the entire movie, but I finally placed the actress who was playing Summer Finn in the feel good (sort of) flick (500) Days of Summer; Zooey Deschanel was Jovie in Elf (2003) along side Will Farrell, where she played a sort of cynical department store clerk who falls for, well, an elf. That realization is not all that important to my thoughts on this film, but it is worth noting because it sort of distracted me. As for her role here, she is much more defined and much more believable.

The title of the film refers to the 500 days that Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets, obsesses, falls in love with, and loses Summer, the new assistant at the greeting card office he has called home for 3 or 4 years. He was once an aspiring architect, but life just sort of got in the way.

After 5 minutes I found myself squirming in my seat, wondering if this would in fact end up like just another in a long line of formulaic, unoriginal, romantic comedies. We are greeted with a narrator giving us some background and we see images of Tom with his friends in situations that lead us to understand he is a sappy, star-struck kind of guy. Tom believes in Fate. Enter Summer, and the story takes off. She is the opposite of Tom in all ways involving love, and so we have our two heroes of the story at odds over a pretty typical life scenario: dating.

Throughout the 95 minutes (the perfect runtime for this film) I found myself thinking of what to compare this to, and here is what I came up with: This is a feature length film with vignettes of the television show Scrubs, the narrator of the Woody Allen movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), and most recognizable, multiple aspects of Juno (2007). In any event, I felt like this film was original in parts (nice use of different screen techniques) and formulaic in parts (skipping back and forth in time over the course of a relationship), making for a breezy but frustrating viewing. On the one hand, I cared about this relationship between two young people and I was interested in how it would turn out, but on the other hand, I never really cared for Tom at all, it was all about Summer.

There was one brief scene that almost had me spit up my drink, and I’m not giving anything away by retelling it:

A very intoxicated Tom is on a blind date after one of his numerous, extended fights with Summer, and they end up at a frequently used karaoke bar. As he sings along to the tune and blubberingly falters around the stage, his date gets up and leaves the bar.

Tom (into the microphone, slurring): “Go then! Waste of time, you don’t look anything like Summer”

So I say “Go then”, it’s not a waste of time.

*** ½ out of 5

No comments: