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Review: (500) Days of Summer

An odd romantic comedy, but a romantic comedy nonetheless
By SHAULA CLARK  |  July 15, 2009
2.5 2.5 Stars


"This is not a love story," (500) Days of Summer's disembodied narrator tells us. That's mostly a lie. Marc Webb's first feature-length film is an odd romantic comedy, but it's a romantic comedy nonetheless — and a non-excruciating one at that. Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a brooding pencil pusher with a thing for "sad British pop" and The Graduate, falls for his co-worker Summer (Zooey Deschanel), the commitment-phobic It girl.

They bond over the Smiths, Knight Rider, and yelling "penis" in the park, but he wants a soul mate, and she wants an exit strategy. Since (500) Days thrives on quirk, the film — a three-way pile-up of Juno, The Office, and Memento — starts with their break-up and whiplashes throughout the relationship, unstuck in time.

Annoying, yes, but when the gimmicks work, it's fun. Still, the film's major flaw, Summer's flimsy character, ensures that its unexpected ending is less a haymaker than a sucker punch.

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