Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer blues

I should probably say a few words about the new Zooey Deschanel picture, (500) Days of Summer which I saw last week -- if only because a lot of my hipster pals have been praising it to the skies, and because I think it deals with some worthy-of-discussion issues.

As for the movie itself: Meh.

My friends were saying that it was as good as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind -- which is definitely not the case.

It's not exactly boring. It's not exactly unbelievable. It's not exactly predictable... But it's sort of all those things when put together.

The plot is nothing more than a romance and a disenchantment between Deschanel (the Summer of the title) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who you know from Third Rock from the Sun.) It's told in Quentin Tarantino-esque jumps in time from the blooming of the affair to the unsavory aftermath. It has the occasional moment of recognizable poignancy, as well as some good jokes and scenes (my favorite was a musical song-and-dance number after the affair is consummated). But overall, I was a little bored. And the movie's wisdom seemed a little obvious.

The one thing that the movie had going for it was that it did explore the male phenomenon of building up a woman in his mind who does not in fact exist.

Gordon-Levitt convinces himself of his girlfriend's perfection in a way that I think most schlubs will find very familiar.

I can't tell you how many times I've thought that one of the floozies that I was dating was the beginning and end of womanhood -- a beacon of beauty, intelligence, grace, humor... yada-yada-yada.

One of the reasons that this happens is because, like most Americans, I am a ravenous consumer of movies and books, and most pop entertainments make their heroine out to be all these things. (Which, of course, is a damn lie.) And suckers like me will continue to swallow it for as long as we continue going to movies.

So it's nice that, in this case, the woman who is built up as the monument of this picture isn't as wonderful as she appears. (It's also nice that it's a movie about male heartbreak -- which seems to get short shrift over female heartbreak in movies today.)

Sometimes the girl of your dreams -- who you pined over, daydreamed about, made a million wishes to possess -- is a shallow shmuck. And you were a shmuck to be so gaga over her.

For the record: Get over it.