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Movie Review: 500 Days of Summer

Alternate Title: A Summer Diversion

Story: I tend to run far away from romantic comedies. They are usually filled with unchallenging formulaic cliches and stereotypical eye-rolling behavior. However, this new film by first time director Marc Webb (written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber) caught my attention via the previews.

The film chronicles, in a non-linear fashion, the ups and downs of the 500 day relationship between young Tom and the apple of his eye, Summer.

Tom, a would-be architect finds himself, instead, writing for a greeting card company. He meets and is smitten by the new employee, Summer. She, in no uncertain terms tells him she does not want a boyfriend but one thing leads to another and the relationship begins. It is told through Tom's eyes (and occasionally by the unnecessary off camera narrator). The 'what-ifs' add to the non-linear storytelling.

The film is charming, often funny and at times, even creative. The main characters have chemistry and I cared about what happened to them. Will I remember this movie? No - but it was a pleasant summer diversion on a hot day.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsD0NpFSADM

Acting: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a fine young actor. I have been following his work for quite a while and he makes some interesting serious film choices. He takes a break from that direction and it works just fine. He is adorable, smart and guess what? He can dance. Zooey Deschanel is the quirky go to girl for film makers these days. She tends to play that role repeatedly. That said - she was charming in this film.

Trivia: Joseph Gordon-Levitt took an acting break and went to Columbia University in 2000. His maternal grandfather was Michael Gordon, who directed such films as Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) and Pillow Talk (1959). Gordon's career was crippled when he was blacklisted during the Red Scare of the mid-Twentieth Century. His parents are Jane Gordon and Dennis Levitt, who met as activists in California. Gordon ran for Congress in 1970. Zooey Deschanel was born in 1980 into a showbiz family. Her father, Caleb Deschanel is an Academy Award-nominated cinematographer (perhaps most notably for The Passion of the Christ (2004)) and her mother, Mary Jo Deschanel (née Weir) is an actress who starred in "Twin Peaks" (1990). She was named for the male character in J.D. Salinger's "Franny and Zooey".

Predilection: I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Critters: Photos of a cat

Food: Pancakes and sausages.

Sex Spectrum: No sex to speak about.

Blatant Product Placement: Ikea

Soundtrack: A delightful soundtrack that is toe tapping worthy. There is a dance number when Tom first falls in love to the tune of Hall and Oates' "You Make My Dreams Come True."

Opening Titles: A montage of a young Tom and a young Summer.

Visual Art: Some fun animation combined with reality and some interesting architectural renderings.

Theater Audience: About 30 women and one guy. As soon as the film faded to black almost everyone lit up their handheld devices and at first I thought the theater was filled with fire flies but it was just the lights from incoming e-mail and missed phone calls.

Weather: LA is warm and sunny.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: It was too short to drift much.

Predictability Level: You know from the outset that the relationship is not going to work.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has appeared in some fine films. Check out his: Miracle at St. Anna, Stop-Loss, The Lookout, Mysterious Skin and a A River Runs Through It

Length: 90 minutes