Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 2009. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Watermark, Dune Entertainment III. Screenplay by Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber. Cinematography by Eric Steelberg. Produced by Mason Novick, Jessica Tuchinsky, Mark Waters, Steven J. Wolfe. Music by Mychael Danna, Rob Simonsen. Production Design by Laura Fox. Costume Design by Hope Hanafin. Film Editing by Alan Edward Bell. Golden Globe Awards 2009. Independent Spirit Awards 2009.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is thoroughly smitten by charming Zooey Deschanel when she becomes the newest assistant to his boss at their greeting card company. After a few awkward meetings they begin dating and enjoy some thoroughly charming times together, she urging him to resurrect his dreams of becoming an architect and leave the life of the corporate drone behind. Time passes and the original infatuation fades, she finding herself less in love than he is, and from there begins a saga of pain and frustration. What mixes it up here is that the film’s narrative is not told in chronological order and, just to make sure you don’t get confused, each day in which Gordon-Levitt’s life is held hostage by his affection for Deschanel is numbered and labelled for your convenience. What’s most surprising, though, is that this technique is not too clever for its own good and the random structure comes off as confident and polished instead of messy or gimmicky. In fact, all of director Marc Webb’s hot-doggings come off as light, charming touches, including animation, a musical number and a tribute to the Nouvelle Vague. Gordon-Levitt is charismatic in the lead and he enjoys wonderful chemistry with Deschanel, while the script, despite a disappointing final scene that smells of studio interference, is never desperate to be quirky but instead wears its fresh attitude with confidence. Webb includes a fantastic soundtrack to top it off, and manages something previously believed impossible: he manages to make L.A. look almost as romantically cool as New York.