Perfect ’Days’

By Susan W. Woods

“(500) Days of Summer” is a refreshing antidote to today’s formulaic plague of romantic comedies, which usually involve a woman dating or marrying the wrong man (or vice versa) or two very attractive people finally succumbing to their obvious attraction for each other about three-quarters into the film. There is nothing formulaic about “Days of Summer.”

In the very first scene, we learn about the break up of this couple on day 306, and as the film jumps in a nonlinear fashion from one significant or mundane day to another in the relationship, we slowly and intimately learn about the characters.
Central characters Tom, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Mysterious Skin,” “Brick”), and Summer, played by Zooey Deschanel (“Yes Man,” “Elf”), are attractive in a plausibly normal dimension, where personality and charm conquer six-pack abs and flat stomachs; and the laughs come without flatulent or sophomoric humor.

Tom and Summer like to go to foreign or classic films, browse bins for old LPs, read books and sit on a favorite bench, gazing at architecturally interesting buildings. Ah, a portrayal of this generation that doesn’t involve YouTube, Twitter or working out at the gym. In fact, no one has a cell phone, a television is never on, and computers are used for work.

Another fascinating aspect of this movie is its portrayal of Los Angeles. There are no palm trees, fancy cars driving down Rodeo Drive, beach scenes or stars on the sidewalk. The characters walk on the streets, take the subway, live in walk-ups and go to parks with trees and grass.

Everything about this film is a little surprising, from the wonderful acting, to the depiction of a relationship that is romantic, flawed and heartbreaking up to the very satisfying ending.

‘(500) Days of Summer’

Directed by Marc Webb. 96 minutes. Rated PG-13

FOUR - out of five