The Story of She and Him

07/15/2009 4:00 AM |

(500) Days of Summer
Directed by Marc Webb

If you’re the sort of moviegoer who yells at the screen a lot during horror films — imploring characters not to open this or that door, or to run away as fast as possible — then you’re probably going to shout quite a bit during the exasperating (500) Days of Summer. But because this movie is a romantic comedy about a woman who strings a guy along for a year and a half, what you’re most likely to be hollering is, She’s just not that into you!

Ensuring her place as the emo generation’s own Annie Hall, saucer-eyed Zooey Deschanel fills the titular role of ultimate alt-heartbreaker to a T. Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber have a feel for the courtship rituals of young white urbanites, but they don’t give Deschanel much to work with (that Ringo Starr is Summer’s favorite Beatle is her defining trait) and the actress, to her credit, makes of her two-dimensional love-taker something other than a total hipster bitch.

Still, it takes Tom, the sensitive little indie boy chasing her, to bring Summer’s intermittently good ideas to life, and, as played by the infallible former child star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, he earns our total sympathy. Whether belting out drunken Clash karaoke, shopping at Ikea, listening to the Smiths, or dancing post-coital in the streets, Gordon-Levitt brings been-there insight to his protag’s foolish behavior. Soon to be appearing at a multiplex near you as G.I. Joe’s Cobra Commander, Gordon-Levitt is now officially American cinema’s reigning Most Watchable Actor.

Opens July 17