Monday, July 27, 2009

(500) Days of Summer (****)

(500) Days of Summer. 96 mins. PG-13. Directed by Marc Webb. Written by Scott Neustadter & Michael Weber. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Clark Gregg, and Minka Kelly.

If ever there was a breath of fresh air in the midst of bloated summer behemoths and the string of crappy romantic comedies audiences have been subjected to over the past few months, (500) Days of Summer is it. The movie is sweet and inventive, cleverly darting back and forth between the 500 days of a romantic relationship, and it features two young actors working their considerable charms to perfection. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Tom, a wannabe architect working at a greeting card company. Single and inherently romantic, he falls hard for the new office assistant, Summer (the luminous Zooey Deschanel, in a role tailor-made for her). Too hard, in fact, because this isn't really a love story - Summer and Tom end up breaking up, it's more of a coming-to-grips-with-love story. The vibe of the movie is loose and fun, and there are several sequences that just pop off the screen - a choreographed dance sequence set to a classic Hall & Oates song is just one standout. (500) Days is surprisingly dramatic too, and it has some legitimate things to say about relationships and waiting for "the one." The main draws here are the hip soundtrack and unorthodox editing and sequencing, and both certainly deliver. (500) Days is by no means a classic, but it's another movie, like Garden State, that is bound to catch on with, and move, a certain segment of the moviegoing public. And, if nothing else, it restores some respectability to the romantic comedy genre.



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