Scott Marks 12:30 p.m., July 26
500 Days of Summer
- Rated PG-13 | 1 hour, 35 minutes
- Official website
Chronicle of the relationship of a young couple brought together at the office, a greeting-card company, through their shared taste for the music of the Smiths, among other things: “She likes Magritte and Hopper!” It is a maddeningly mixed experience, beginning (and continuing) with the two leads. A dimply Joseph Gordon-Levitt, often a tortured soul on screen (Mysterious Skin, Brick, The Lookout, etc.), proves himself capable of being a real charmer, a chick-flick dreamboat who believes wholeheartedly in the preordained One-and-Only and who deserves better than his halfhearted object of desire: “There’s no such thing as love. It’s fantasy.” As the latter — Summer is her name, 500 days her shelf life — Zooey Deschanel is by contrast her usual saucer-eyed, spacey, sedated, affectless self, some of which may be ascribed to the character, but most of which must be ascribed to the actress, and all of which tends to signal and soften the bumps in the road, the body blows. (“You should know up front,” intones the off-and-on omniscient narrator, “that this is not a love story.”) The main gimmick of the film, the directorial debut of Marc Webb, is not just its nonlinear narrative but its advance identification of each and every scene by its placement on the timeline (Day 488... 1... 299...), something like an Alain Resnais film with a road map and rounded edges. The resulting juxtaposition of discordant moods, often for facile comic effect, is no longer fresh, yet forever ageless. Bits of cleverness, plentiful enough, are balanced equally by bits of cutesiness. 2009.