2 September 2009

Thoughts On: 500 Days Of Summer

500 Days is an easy to swallow bit of romantic comedy. It plays at being "real world" (the boy doesn't get the girl) but naaaw, despite all its head fakes towards quirky, realistic bleak hipsterism, it's pretty conservative and timid.

It's been touted as Annie Hall for the new generation. Again, naaaw. Annie Hall told us that, a lot of the time, relationships are illogical, flawed and ultimately doomed, and mostly unavoidable.  500 Days doesn't have the nads to be that clear-eyed. It doesn't posit a shitty relationship. It posits a doomed relationship. Big difference. 

The movie's two leads are people who seem to have taken courses about what clothes to wear and music to listen to . I spent much of my time in the theatre embarrassed about my inexperience with the indie music scene and lamenting just how little my clothes said about my worldview.

"I know this guy, his iPod's only five percent full and half of that is Billy Joel. I'm surprised he hasn't killed himself yet."

The two actors are ones we haven't seen too much of. They're likable, and they don't seem like movie stars pretending to be regular people. (Well, not exactly true. Zooey Deschannel's eyes seem to want to be movie stars, even if the rest of her isn't there yet.) The male lead is the former kid star of 3rd Rock From The Sun. He made for a refreshing change as I continue to allow my Owen Wilson rash to heal. I also like that there were no familiar faces in the supporting cast. Y'know. Jason Alexander as the boss or something like that.

This is one of those unreal workplace films. In this case it's a greeting card company with a massive staff (for some reason). The job is presented as being interminable and degrading. Um, okay. You wanna pay me to sit in a California office and think up short sayings all day? Make me an offer.

This was also one of those films where the slacker guy only needs a little inspiration to get up off his butt and shrug off his (actually quite nice) job. Spurned and learned, he only needs a helpful music montage to put all his dreams back on track. Not a horrible message, but why do I yearn for a movie where the guy's NOT an architect (or an opera conductor, or a space cowboy) for a damn good reason. Much more inspirational to me would be the character who learns to make the best of his uninspired but perfectly rewarding job, and finds happiness for himself in the world of compromise.

500 Days was pretty good. It's getting better press than it normally would only because it's not absolutely insipid, like some McCanaughy/Anniston vehicle. You know the type of film where the poster and the eventual DVD cover are just the two leads smiling, surrounded by endless, glow-y white-ness, cause there's nothing else committed to celluloid except the inescapable, horrific grins of their damned, damned souls?