January 31, 2010

#056: (500) Days Of Summer

500 Days Of Summer is a new twist on the classic boy meets girl love story.  It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the smitten male pining after the girl of his dreams played by Zooey Deschanel.  Not surprisingly, the film follows their relationship over 500 days.  However, and here is the kicker, the 500 days are not presented in sequential order.  Yeah, its crazy.  ....All kidding aside, that aspect of the movie worked alright for me.  However, there were a lot of other parts that did not.

I am sure we have all seen quite a few movies about falling in love.  Hell, I have seen two in the last week, and they were surprisingly similar.  In (500) Days Of Summer the version of the story centers around a girl who just wants to keep it casual, and a guy who is head over heels.  Now matter how much heart he pours out, he just can't seem to break down her walls.  When he does seem to be making progress, he is met with unforeseen setbacks.  It is not really a spoiler to say that he ends up getting his heart broken, even though he should have expected it all along.

I may hesitate to describe this film with words like "touching" or "meaningful". I would be more likely to describe it as "charming".  They did a good job in capturing that feeling of newness and excitement when a relationship is starting to blossom.  However, there were an equal number of moments with awkward dialog and ham-handed life lessons.  I never could truly buy into the central relationship because every time I started to get sucked in, something came along that pulled me right back out of it.  Your evaluation of this film is 100% dependent on whether that relationship seems genuine to you.  For me, it never really did.  Therefore, I never connected enough with the film to really care what happened.

When I finished watching (500) Days Of Summer I thought about a movie I watched last year called Definitely, Maybe.  500 Days is probably a better made film, but Definitely, Maybe was a lot more effective at drawing me into the love story.  Any guy who watches one of these films is going to have some sort of opinion on whether the girl in question is worth getting all worked up about.  In my opinion Zooey Deshanel really wasn't, and Isla Fisher definitely was.  For my money, you put Isla Fisher in 500 Days, I am a much bigger fan.

Overall 500 Days was enjoyable to watch.  It would have been more engaging if it allowed us more time to fall in love with the characters instead of constantly having to show us how quirky and witty they are.  The film had a slightly precocious feel, and constantly reminded us of the time jumping gimmick.  However, this film succeeds in spite of itself.  There are a few scenes that are really well done and do a solid job at conveying the genuine emotion that the rest of the film lacks.  These moments alone make the film worth watching.


Filed Under: