Tuesday, July 28, 2009

(500) Days Of Summer (2009)--3/5

The title of this film is not as fun to type as "Laserblast." (That was the last "Laserblast" mention, I swear.)

Perennial Manic Pixie Dream Girl Zooey Deschanel meets her match in "(500) Days of Summer." Summer (Deschanel) dresses like she's in The Decemberists. Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) dresses like he's Chip Kidd. He's a greeting card writer (snort) and a wannabe architect (double snort). They pretty much have to like each other.

I'm often annoyed in ostensibly romantic movies by characters who are seen talking while the soundtrack drowns them out. In order for me to buy an onscreen couple, I have to believe they can hold a conversation. (Richard Linklater has made two successful films, "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset," based on this thought alone.) "(500) Days of Summer" has two such scenes, probably scored to Regina Spektor or Ingrid Michaelson or some similar singer. I was annoyed on principle while watching the film, but I think they actually make a point. Tom can't see through his infatuation of Summer based completely on her taste in pop culture. They really don't have anything to talk about.

"(500) Days of Summer" has a gimmick. They all do. This one's not bad. Each of the 500 days of their relationship is numbered. The film is free to jump back and forth in time to underline an idea, to confuse, to generally be different. For the most part, "(500) Days of Summer" follows a linear path, with minimal digressions. It could be a lot more complicated and, as a result, more insightful. Why create this innovative conceit if you don't have the nerve to take it as far as it can go?

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