Last night I rented 500 Days of Summer, the 'romantic comedy' with Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt that's been getting rave reviews.
It looked innocuous enough and I'd heard from several people that it was cute and watchable. Any time the words 'romantic' and 'comedy' are used I'm pretty much hooked.
Too keep up the fishing anologies, this time was a bait and switch - not as severe as Nights in Rodanthe or Bridge to Terabithia [both of those movies should have come with disclaimers for the sensitive at heart] but nevertheless, this movie left the romance writer in me asking WTF?
SPOILER ALERT!! Don't read further if you don't want to know...
In all fairness the ominous voice of the narrator in this tale does warn the audience that this is not a love story. That should have been my first clue, but I'm a cock-eyed optimist and I kept hoping he was lying. Turns out he was spot on. The story follows the ill-fated relationship of Summer and Tom, two eccentric clunkies who work for a greeting card company.
The characters are personable enough - Tom, the optimist, looking for true love believes he's found it in the quirky, sometimes spacey Summer. She's more jaded as the product of her parents' divorce [cue the wambulance here] and she does not believe in love. It's all a fantasy according to her. She likes to fool around but doesn't make committments. Her capricious nature puts Tom on an emotional roller coaster that gets him bumped from the Valentine's Day department at work to Sympathy and Grief because he's a walking wound when Summer leaves not only him but her job. [It's never clear when or why she quits].
The story is told in a non-linear fashion [I hate that, btw] even in time travel stories, I like things to progress in order. So we see the end before we really understand the beginning. This does not help the story.
I won't give away the ending, which makes what I consider a lame attempt to assure the audience that everything will be all right in the end and that our following this disappointing relationship hasn't been for nothing since we've learned something [as Tom does] about the human condition and about love in general.
I learned here's another movie that I'm glad I didn't plunk down $10.00 for at the theater. While it was good for a chuckle or two...romantic it was not. Rating: WTF.