(500) days of summer: if only you knew them

(500) Days of Summer isn't a bad movie, but I'm not into it. I would break up with it after a few weeks.

It's legitimately funny almost throughout, it's well-cast, makes LA look about as good as LA can look, and Lindy West hates it. These are all positives. There are two main schticks to the film: The first is that it's told in an out-of-timeline from along the course of Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, built for this role) and his obsession-relationship-despondence with apparently magical Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel, enchanting enough despite wardrobe's best attempts to make her look like that girl in Orphan). We go from day (23) to (1) to (478), and so on. This works; it allows the film to be funnier, lets us know early on where it's headed, and settles into a really nice rhythm.

The other schtick is in the tagline for the movie: Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Girl doesn't. That's cool and all, as in my generation, dudes are the mopes and women are the players more and more. It's a nice way to tag it as represantative of the new romance. I don't have any problem buying most of the film, which is the essential first hurdle most rom-com-drams struggle to get over. They meet at work, they run through IKEA, their friends don't get it.

The thing is, caring about the characters is also an essential hurdle, and (500) just doesn't do a good job of that. For me, anyway - the two single hopeless romantics I saw it with clearly identified with Tom out of their ears. Me, I'm committed, so that may make a difference. To take a dour view of our lovers, Tom's a naive, infatuated emetro - and Summer is nigh reprehensible in her dragging along of him, especially considering she knows what's up.

The cute moments are well done enough that you get a little buzzed, but when it all comes crashing down for Tom [repeatedly], you just don't care that much.

Maybe if the movie was told more from the POV of Tom's pitch-perfect roommates, Paul, the Stable One (Matthew Gray Gubler), and Vance, the Fun Lush (Geoffrey Arend), we'd care about Tom, but instead we get to listen to him tell it. He's often more pathetic than sympathetic, and a random deep-voiced narrator doesn't help much.

The sum isn't greater than its parts, but it's an admirable first wide-release effort from director Marc Webb, who doesn't do too much with his shots until it's time to throw down a musical number or classic film shout-out, which somehow fit neatly into the odd rhythm. But Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber's script manages to be nuanced and witty without making me care about the main characters. I gave much more of an eff about The Proposal's rushed ending than I did about (500)'s. [Though Minka Kelly shows up as a full-fledged and -figured woman, which would be worth the price of admission on its own. Top 5. No doubt.]

I listen to people talk about their relationships all the time. I enjoy it. But apparently, knowing them is why I care. At times, (500) can feel like a cardigan-wearing kid on the Metro pouting his heart out about some girl you can tell isn't concerned with him. Not fun.

I suggest you go see (500) if you're single, or really like Minka Kelly, [or dig Regina Spektor, who gets about five minutes of montage time.] If you're tired of people you actually care for bitching about relationships, skip it. Still, keep an eye on pretty much everyone involved.