500 Days of Summer

I was just reminded of this film by Everett True linking to this song:

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Zooey Deschenel is pretty much impossible not to like. She’s a breezy, summery, cheerful sort of character with a breezy, summery, cheerful sort of voice singing a breezy, summery, cheerful sort of song. Think of the first time you heard the Wannadies’ You and Me Song and instantly fell in love with it; not the last time you heard it and never need to hear it again.

That kind of refreshing easy romance fills Zooey’s film 500 Days of Summer, which is one of the best “romantic comedies” I’ve seen. Emphasis on the quotation marks here, because it takes great pains to point out that it is not a regular rom-com. It’s a quirky indie talky film that pleads for the use of the word “kooky” in a context that does not involve Goldie Hawn. You might let Kate Hudson through the door, but only for Almost Famous, if 500 Days didn’t make Almost Famous look as schmaltzy as Notting Hill.

Zooey Deschenel (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) is the eponymous Summer, who sparks an office affair with Tom (played by Jospeh Gordon-Levitt from 3rd Rock from the Sun). The story is told from his side, and he is also impossible to dislike. So, we root for these two to get it together, and they do, and then it all goes disastrously wrong in a fairly low-key and every day sort of way. The narrative jumps all over the place leaving us breathlessly clinging on like drunk teens on a fairground ride. When it all comes to a shuddering halt a couple of hours later, there’s the faint dissatisfaction of not being at Disney merged with the authentic pleasure of no corporate furries.

Random quote: “Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soul mate.”

If that just made you smile, you’ll enjoy this film very much. 500 Days of Summer is no Casablanca, but it’s sweet, funny, memorable, witty, and embarrassingly real in a way that most other films aren’t.

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