Remember the "Be a Pepper" Dr. Pepper soda pop commercials a few decades ago. Actor David Naughton ("American Werewolf in London") would dance around town infecting everyone with joy, jubilant choreography and the spirit of Dr. Pepper.
In music video master Marc Webb's first feature, "(500) Days of Summer," we are treated to actor Joseph Gordon- Levitt ("3rd Rock From the Sun") "Being a Pepper" to show the ecstasy of love blooming after first-time sex. As greeting card wiz Tom Hanson, he is ecstatic over Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel of "Elf"), the cute assistant of his boss Vance (Clark Gregg). The exuberant Pepperesque song-anddance number comes midway into the movie, but not necessarily in the middle of Tom-Summer's doomed relationship. That is because film's chronology jumps around backwards and forwards, delineated with little titles, like "Day 488," "Day 1," "Day 201," etc.
Along with the dance routine, the crazy time sequencing is only one of many gimmicks that include split screens, unknown narrator voiceovers, repeated montages in contrary context, They are a flamboyant attempt to disguise the complete lack of a storyline. It makes "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" seem coherent.
Though the action is situated in Los Angeles, you'd never know it, which may be a good thing. Also hard to determine is the period when the film takes place, what with Summer's pioneer clothes and the long-hair look of Tom friends. Still, karaoke is a big deal, which might make things contemporary.
"(500) Days of Summer" is largely sustained by the cutesy attractiveness of the in-and-out-and-in-and-out-oflove couple. The basic idea is that once you find out what love is, you must find the person who is worthy of it. It almost makes you want to "Be a Pepper."