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(500) Days of Summer


Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Clark Gregg, Chloe Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler, Minka Kelly

Director: Marc Webb

A patchy (and patchwork), would-be-offbeat romantic comedy-drama starring the current Queen of Quirk, Deschanel, as Summer, the 'loner' new girl at the greetings card office. She completely wins the heart of Tom (Gordon-Levitt), who, trained as an architect, now writes captions for the aforementioned cards - though the company doesn't look as if it could survive for long, judging by its product.

Summer doesn't want to be the 'girlfriend', and isn't looking for a serious relationship; nonetheless she and Tom hook up, enjoy each other's company and end up in bed. They do crazy things together and the affair breezes along, though Tom would like to put matters on a more permanant basis.

Then he makes a mistake by punching a guy who hits on Summer at a bar, instead of playing it cool (quite apart from the fact that the obnoxious guy is twice his size). Summer is not impressed, and things go gradually downhill from then on. But the relationship's brighter moments are also the film's: a musical dance sequence (complete with cartoon bluebird) is joyous, though the story's habit of hopping fron one part of the affair to another (for example, day 360 to day 4 and back to day 161 etc) is annoying. 'Jumbling the chronology of the movie was a lot of fun for us,' the screenwriters have said. Rather less fun for us, though, as it robs the story of a manageable character arc.

The talented Levitt is predictably good throughout, while Deschanel, looking older than of late, gives her standard wide-eyed performance that's perhaps nearing its sell-by date. And Summer's eventual fate seems completely out of character.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox (Fox Atomic). Colour by deluxe.
95 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 30 Aug 2009