Saturday, August 1, 2009

Review - (500) Days of Summer

A quarky romantic comedy that follows Tom, a man who aspired to be a architect but settled for being a greeting card writer. When Tom meets Summer, the new administrative assistant at his work, it is love at first sight. Unfortunately for Tom, Summer doesn't feel the same way. Eventhough Summer doesn't believe in relationships, her and Tom become much more than friends. When their relationship suddenly ends, Tom spends his days recounting their relationship by seeking advice from his two best friends and younger sister, Rachel.

"(500) Days of Summer" is a refreshing and comical take on the romantic comedy. First time director Marc Webb put together a charming tale that easily reminds the viewer of relationships that did not work out for one reason or another in the past. The back-and-forth storytelling is cleverly put together with wonderful transitions, animation and some hilarious narration. "(500) Days of Summer" is furthermore, masterfully highlighted with a superior soundtrack that matches the various moods of lovable film.

Jospeh Gordon-Levitt is truely an amazing talent. He is brilliant in the offbeat comedy as the very simple Tom Hansen elevating the film into a very delightful event. Gordon-Levitt plays the role extremely subtle, that is not to say he doesn't get his emotions across, because he does in every avenue of the perceptive performance. He sucks the viewer into Tom's character with his refined delivery and has you going through the very same emotions as Tom, while re-telling his relationship with Summer.

I have to say up front, that there is something about Zooey Deschanel that irks me to no end. Here in "(500) Days of Summer" Deschanel delivers a strong performance as Summer Finn, but seeing her play essentially the same role as seen in Elf and The Happening took me out of the film a number of times. Zooey Deschanel is a capable actress and she does carry her portion of the film in every way, but unlike Tom's character, I found myself resisting her charm. Ultimately, while Deschanel was good as Summer Finn, it was her performance that left me only enjoying "(500) Days of Summer" instead of loving it.

The supporting cast of "(500) Days of Summer" really help to make the film a truely comical movie going experience. Geoffrey Arend who plays McKenzie, one of Tom's bestfriends, is a riot in the role. Every scene Arend is in, he generates laughter and his sarcastic delivery of the dialogue is crafty and hilarious all the way through. Chloe Moretz is flawless delivering the deadpan relationship advice as Rachel, Tom's younger sister. Moretz and Gordon-Levitt's exchanges were some of my more fondest memories of the film by far. Actor/director of Choke Gregg Clark, was a nice bonus as Tom's boss. Clark has a unique wit all his own, and he shined through in the few scenes he had opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

What made "(500) Days of Summer" was it's ability to showcase (in a refreshing way) all of the up's and down's of a relationship. You felt high right along with Tom, when he and Summer were care free and you also shared in the not so good times too. The best scene in the film hands down comes after Summer and Tom have slept together for the first time. Watching Tom's walk to work the next morning to the tune of Hall & Oates "You Make My Dreams" was priceless. The scene perfectly takes all of those feelings we have after sharing in a wonderful sexual experience and matched it to a hysterical dance montage. Credit Joseph Gordon-Levitt for the ability to make that scene utterly hilarious and reminding the entire audience how good it felt to be in those shoes.

Compliments must go to the hypnotizing soundtrack of "(500) Days of Summer." In every instance throughout the film, the feelings were matched by a great foray of music. From the opening track by Regina Spektor to Tom and Summer's intial icebreaker conversation about The Smiths everything is impeccably matched. This soundtrack instantly becomes a soundtrack to own, one that can give the listener quality memories from a very solid quazi-romantic film.

A ton of credit goes out to the intelligent and common day script by the writing team of Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber and the narration by Jean-Paul Vignon. Weber and Neustadter's script feels authentic and natural, especially when combined with the superb performances by the cast. Furthermore, the story is simple while remaining polished and Vignon's narration is absolutely enchanting providing short stints of hilarity. Overall the film nails home the message that in some relationships, what one person wants so desperately, isn't necessarily what the other person wants as well. "(500) Days of Summer" is a great film, with a rich script, powerful performances and most of all, it leaves the viewer with a positive outlook on relationships despite not ending in the most obvious of ways.


While 500 Days of Summer has a clever premise, that does not make up for a boring story. I checked my watch at least 10 times during the show, and even my wife commented that the show felt 500 hours long.