(500) Days of Summer

12A

It can be endless. It can be higher. It can be modern. It can tear you apart. It can be a battlefield. Oh and it canít be hurried. If songs have taught us anything, itís that love can be a tricky old thing. Unlike your average, happily ever after mod-rom-com, (500) Days of Summer tells it like it is: that it can be all these things, and so much more.

Boy Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets girl Summer (Zooey Deschanel) at his place of work, a greetings card company. Itís love at first sight Ė well for him at least. For Summer, Tom is just the right kind of guy for right now, as they enter into a relationship sans commitment. Itís not like she hides this fact from him, but like most men, he believes that he has what it takes to make her change her mind. But as the filmís title alludes to, he doesnít.

(500) Days of Summer
You know, life is pretty much like a box of chocolates.

Newbie director Marc Webb does a great job in playing with the coupleís timeline, as he flits back and forth between their great, good and ugly moments. Amazingly, a trip to Ikea falls into one of their better periods; this stretches the bounds of reality somewhat as every couple who has taken this trip knows, nothing tests a relationship more than browsing Swedish furniture.

What he struggles with though is squeezing that little bit extra out of his cast. Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt give disappointingly pedestrian performances; the usually pin-sharp Deschanel behaves with the same field of female emotions as terminator Cameron (Summer Glau) in TVís The Sarah Connor Chronicles; and Gordon Levitt just canít compete with the likes of heart-on-their-sleeves heavyweights Michael Cera (Juno) and Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland).

It doesnít help that Tomís group of friends also appear to have never acted before, looking as they constantly do like the proverbial deer caught in headlights. Their inclusion is to not only add emotional support for their buddy, but also help act as humorous foils. They fail miserably on both counts.

The writing is also on the cumbersome side. The problem is the writers probably think theyíre funnier than they actually are Ė which, letís face it, most writers do Ė but this pair have no defence, especially when you take into consideration that the only other script they have penned together was The Pink Panther 2. We rest our case.

What saves this film though is its charm. And a stonking soundtrack. But mostly its charm. It manages to tap into the insecurity of the male ego and run it up the cinematic flagpole for all the world to see. It solemnly reveals that yes, some men do have those funny-shaped pump things and that in the wrong hands, they can indeed be broken. Itís this kind of attitude that steers this film very close to being the generation X version of When Harry Met Sally - despite the fact it clearly bottles it in the last five minutes.

Having said that, it must still be considered the best anti-date film of the year, and for that it should be highly praised.

three out of five