(500) Days of Summer
You would think that there are only so many movies that can be made where boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl stomps his heart with her Birkenstocks and then instantly gets married to someone else but no, Hollywood has an endless barrel of scripts that follow exactly that formula. The proof is “(500) Days of Summer,” the latest semi-romantic stomach-churner to be unleashed upon battle-hardened audiences.
From the opening shot, it looks like maybe there is hope for this quaint portrayal of love gone foul. After all, we are treated with a narrative that moves forward and backward in time, a favored tactic amongst first time directors whose previous experience consists mainly of music videos. But after a few more minutes it becomes clear that the only thing this movie shares with “Memento” is that same feeling of wanting to pull out my own entrails and fashion a crude noose. Only this time, it’s not because the film’s story is so crushingly dark – rather, it’s simply because I know I will probably lose fewer brain cells through auto-erotic asphyxiation than if I remained conscious for the duration of “(500) Days of Summer.”
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a straight-laced boy falls for a quirky girl but get this: she doesn’t believe in love. Instead of running for the hills like any sane man would, he instead subjects both his soul and his penis to a series of never-ending tortures at the hands of his callous objet d’amour.
Let’s face it – it’s the dude who played the kid in the show about those aliens (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – so he probably didn’t read the script before signing across the dotted line and thanking his lucky stars that anyone actually remembers he is still alive. His love interest, portrayed by Zooey Deschanel is attractive in the way that spitting cobras are hypnotic, all big eyes and hair until they launch corrosive, acidic venom into your eyes and eat your heart for breakfast.
By the end of the movie, I was left wondering if there were any actors remaining in Hollywood who hadn’t played these exact same two roles at some point in their careers. Where would they dig up the next two losers to fail at romance in 35 mm? Would Vin Diesel fall hard for Whoopi Goldberg? Would Jessica Simpson coldly shut down that guy from the “time to make the donuts” commercials?
No matter which scenario I imagined, it made me shudder to my very core. Do yourself a favor and preserve at least a few illusions about how happy your life could eventually turn out to be. Avoid this film and instead stay at home with your collection of tiny dolls made out of your ex-girlfriend’s locks of hair.
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