Although conventional wisdom says otherwise, men really do want to watch romantic comedies. Unfortunately, they're not the same ones that women want to watch: for every two dozen movies like The Proposal or the upcoming The Ugly Truth, there's maybe one or two like High Fidelity or Almost Famous. This week, men can add 500 Days of Summer to their shortlist of testosterone-driven rom-coms, thanks to its story of a neurotic twentysomething named Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who falls deeply – and increasingly desperately – in love with a comely young lady named Summer (Zooey Deschanel).
Cinematical recently spoke to 500 Days director Marc Webb via telephone about his experience making the film, which he admits contains more than a few chestnuts of wisdom he wishes he had at Tom's age. In addition to discussing the demands of juggling relationships both off and on screen, Webb spoke about the significance of releasing his Summer film during the hottest months of the year, and offered a few insights about the seldom-discussed but decidedly-substantive legacy of romantic comedies made and marketed to – and for - men.
Cinematical: When you started working on 500 Days of Summer, what was this movie really about for you, or what did you want to explore the most?
Webb: During the process it evolved a little bit, but to me it's a coming of age story masked as a romantic comedy. To me it's about growing up; Summer isn't just a girl, she's a phase of your life. It is something that we've all gone through and all experienced, and there's certainly a romantic element, and there's an examination of the ambiguity of certain kinds of relationships. But at the end of the day, it's how you negotiate that and how you deal with that that's important to me.