The romantic comedy gets deconstructed in the endearingly quirky (500) Days of Summer.
Tom (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is a hopeless romantic who writes greeting cards for a living. Summer (Zooey Deschanel) is the new girl in the office, with whom he is immediately smitten.
Here’s the twist: We are told, right off the bat, that things will not end well for our young hero. “This is not a romantic comedy,” the droll voiceover informs us. Instead, this is a breakdown of one young man’s particular heartbreak, with an unusual storytelling device: Tom and Summer’s romance is recounted out of chronology.
Instead of being confusing, the conceit adds dimensions of humor and insight to the tale. We see Tom consummate his relationship with Summer—he’s so giddy, he imagines a little Gene Kelly-style song and dance number on the way work; followed immediately by Tom the morning after he’s been dumped, wearing the same outfit, only now it—and Tom himself—seems rumpled and deflated. We see the couple at IKEA, enjoying each other, being secretive and silly the way new couples...