500 Days of Summer

Director: Marc Webb
Year Released: 2009
Rating: 1.5

Achingly hollow love story in 2009's fabrics: boy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets girl (Zooey Deschanel), boy gets girl, boy and girl have ambiguous relationship, "love" fizzles, girl leaves for some reason, boy finds new girl. Scrambling up the chronology doesn't freshen things up and only manages to make the Zooey character a flake: it doesn't pierce the relationship's armor (and get at its apparent problems) and suggests - rightly or wrongly - that our fate isn't written in ourselves but in the stars (sorry Cassius), meaning that we should all sit back and wait for life to arrange our business (har har). Levitt struggles to appear consistently smitten while Le Zooey bats her Pikachu Eyes, a routine she picked up years ago and keeps milking. Zach Braff's Garden State is the (unfortunate) template, with The Smiths replacing The Shins (though director Webb is wise enough to avoid using "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before").