I saw this last night. Romances aren’t really my cup of tea, but the reviews pulled me in. I thought it was a mixed bag. I liked Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and to the degree that the movie worked, it was largely because of him. He’s the only character tha seems like a real person. A few of the movie’s conceits worked pretty well, but not all of them. I liked the split screen sequence where you see the difference between “expectations” and “reality.” That was pretty authentic. I kind of liked the musical number, and I generally liked the theme of the “love story” never really being what Gordon-Levitt thought it was.
I didn’t think the jumpy chronology was particularly useful or effective, I thought the soundtrack mostly sucked, I thought the protagonists’ "best friends’ were cliched chick flick characters, and I didn’t think very many scenes were particularly realistic.
I HATED the precocious little sister, found her self-impressed and snotty, and not the slightest bit believable as a real kid.
Mostly, though, I think what sinks the movie is Zooey Deschanel. Her character isn’t likeable or sympathetic at all. I get that she’s supposed to be a psycho bitch that JGL deludes himself into thinking is something that she’s not, and that his not understanding that she’s self-absorbed and bipolar is part of the point, but Deschanel doesn’t invest the character with anything that’s likeable even on a superficial level. She’s just nothing but cutesy quirks. She doesn’t actually seem like a three dimensional person, she’s just gives the standard, look how cute I am, watch me make fourteen different facial expressions while saying every line, look how big my eyes are, over-mannered, overly self-conscious Zooey Deschanel performance that she always gives. She gives exactly the same performance that she gave in Yes Man. It’s the only thing she does. There are no layers. She’s all surface.
I think this movie could have worked significantly better if it had had a real actress in the female lead. It’s not that “Summer” wasn’t likeable that bothered me, it’s that she didn’t seem real at all. If you compare her performance to the performance that Kate Winslett gave as a very similar character in Eternal Sunshine of the spotless Mind, you can see the difference that a real actor can make. Deschanel can’t act. She just does cutesy tics. I guess she’s adequate for romantic comedies, but not for anything which requires depth. maybe it’sjust me, but I don’t find her entrancing or charming, I just find her annoying. I didn’t buy that JGL would be that fascinated with her.
I’d give the movie about a B minus. It’s worth seeing for Gordon-Levitt, as well as for some of the insights and innovations. It’s watchable and not boring, but Deschanel keeps it from soaring.
What did everyone else think?