Wednesday, August 12, 2009


There's a certain kind of girl we DUDES are all too familiar with. She's the one who is constantly sending you mixed signals about what she wants YOU for, and driving you crazy. Zooey Deschanel is Summer, and she is THAT girl. Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the poor guy who is unfortunate enough to get involved with her.

500 Days of Summer is purportedly a romantic comedy about the inconsistencies of their relationship. I say "purportedly" because, while there are some comic moments in this quirky little film, the laughs are uneasy ones. We've all had our hearts broken, and thinking about it sucks. Maybe that's why the movie SUCKS you in like the proverbial train wreck, and you just have to stay with it to see what happens.

Tom and Summer work at the same greeting card company. He writes hackneyed verse that goes on the cards. She is his boss's new assistant. They start to get cozy with each other after a night of drunken karoake. (Many of history's fabled romances began in just the same manner.) But early on, Summer tells him that she's not looking for a serious relationship. Fair enough. But then, she starts having sex with him. Here's where things begin to get hazy. At a certain point, Tom rightly wants to know where he stands with her. But Summer wants to keep things vague.

What keeps things interesting is that the film constantly jumps around in the timeline of their 500 days, so we don't have to wait til the end to get a pretty good idea of how things turn out--we're more concerned about learning how they got that way. And if guys can learn anything from watching 500 Days of Summer, it's that when a girl says she's not looking for anything serious, it means she's not looking for anything serious with YOU.

There is one mischievously funny bit. In a public setting, our couple dares each other to yell out--with increasing intensity--the word for a certain male body part. Back in the day, I remember exhorting a girlfriend to do the exact same thing, which she followed through on. But no one paid any attention to her because they thought she was a hooker.

500 Days of Summer tweaks the traditional romantic comedy formula just enough to provide an ending that you won't necessarily see coming. And if nothing else, the film's non-linear leap-frogging will provide good practice for watching The Time Traveler's Wife.