Meet This Year's "Slumdog": "(500) Days of Summer"


Have you heard about (500) Days of Summer yet? No? Well, get on it, man, it's destined to be the indie darling of 2009. It received an enthusiastic standing ovation at its Sundance bow yesterday. You know what that means. It's going to be one of those "little indie films" that score big points with the mainstream public. You know, the kind with big stars, a big marketing push and a hit iTunes soundtrack.

Fox Searchlight has done well for themselves in the past few years by taking a feel-good movie that plays well in festivals and creating a big hype around them. In 2006, it was Little Miss Sunshine. In 2007, it was Juno. Last year, it was Slumdog Millionaire. All three movies went on to become Award contenders at the end of their respective years. If the early buzz is to be believed, looks like it's (500) Days of Summer's turn this year.

The film is a post-modern romantic comedy about a modern couple's relationship in its ups and downs, billing itself as an anti-love story. It tells the story of greeting card writer Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a hopeless romantic who's in love with Summer (Zooey Deschanel), a cynic who doesn't believe in true love. The film depicts the 500 days of their "relationship," from the meet to the break-up, but not in chronological order, jumping back and forth from the good times to the bad. It's quirky that way. Did I mention that it also has musical numbers?

It's directed by Marc Webb, making his feature film debut, from a script by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the duo that also wrote the upcoming Pink Panther 2.

Those in attendance at Sundance are already comparing (500) Days to the three previous Fox Searchlight hits. Not in the way that implies the four films are similar to each other, but in the way that predicts (500) Days of Summer to be the beloved underdog of 2009, much like the other three movies were for the past three years. That's good news for those who liked Little Miss Sunshine, Juno and Slumdog Millionaire. For the rest of us, it makes sense that this teaser trailer is more painful than exciting.

Be still, my Grinch-ian heart.

The bubbly editing, the pop tune, the use of animated visuals, the obligatory inserts of depressing scenes to give it more indie credibility... Yeah, this is definitely going to besot a lot of folks. Then of course, that strangely intrusive narrator, who is actually also in the film, since it's narrated like a fairy tale. Perhaps because it's an ironic device to use for a realistic relationship story.

I like musicals, I like unique romantic comedies, but this teaser makes this movie look like it belongs on Stuff White People Like. Then again, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel together is a knockout combo. One of the most gifted young actors today and one of the most adorable women on the planet, paired up as a couple? It's almost criminal to not want to see this. It's going to be a brutal tug-of-war.

(500) Days of Summer has a release date of July 24, 2009.

Arya Ponto • Contributor

As former Editor of JPP, Arya likes to entertain peeps with his thoughts on pop culture, when he's not busy watching Battle Royale for the 200th time. He lives in Brooklyn with a comic book collection that's always the most daunting thing to move with, and writes for


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