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Notes from the back row

Summer Lovin’



Summer is the season of love. After a long winter of frog-choking and a quick-and-dubious springtime seal-breaker or two, Summer is when you can relax and focus on the romance - the mirrored-sunglasses at the beach while you secretly check each other out, the drunken patio or BBQ flirting, the turning on the charm, the private skinny dipping followed by some good old-fashioned outdoor banging, caveman style. Yes, it seems when the sun shines our natural inclination is to get ourselves into the places where it doesn't. Love is in the air.

Or at least it is on the silver screens. The big romantic comedy everyone's talking right now is 500 Days of Summer a new kind of love story directed by newcomer Marc Webb.

By ditching the usual Hollywood RomCom formula Webb delivers an engaging, almost realistic, love story about Tom (Joesph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel) and their 500-day long relationship.

Using non-linear storytelling to act as a kind of post-breakup retrospective, Joe relives the good and bad of his 500 days with Summer, examining them for hints of what went wrong. Toss in some nifty filmic devices, split screens and dance numbers, along with an uber-hipster soundtrack (a necessity in indie films these days) and 500 Days of Summer is the sleeper hit of the season. Problem is, it's not playing in Whistler, maybe next week.

Instead, romantic movie fans up here get The Ugly Truth , another film from the brilliant minds behind Legally Blonde (still one of only two movies I've ever walked out of). The Ugly Truth stars Katherine Heigl ( Knocked Up) as a successful TV producer who has sacrificed her social and love life (and therefore her happiness) for a career. Gerard Butler ( 300 ) slums as the crass sex guru Heigl is forced to give airtime to for ratings. Of course, she hates him but he schools her, helps her, and in the end... well you can guess.

The Ugly Truth has all the usual stupid jokes and predictable obstacles (including a microphone/earpiece coaching date scene where she says stuff she isn't supposed to) and the obligatory shopping montage that seems required in any film targeting women. (The shopping montage in Pretty Women is still considered the standard to which all others are held up against - it just makes being a hooker look so fun!)

Basically The Ugly Truth is ugly indeed, and has the romantic appeal of stepping in dog shit or finding a band-aid in your French onion soup. Skip it.

Romantic movies are overrated anyhow. If you're really looking for some cinematic foreplay, horror is always the best - fear and love go hand in hand. Opening this Friday at the Village 8 Orphan stars Vera Farmiga ( The Departed) and Peter Sarsgaard ( Jarhead ) as two poor suckers who adopt a sweet little dark-haired girl named Esther who is actually not that sweet at all. There were no advance screenings of this one but judging by the trailer it looks decent, especially if you enjoy watching kids hurt each other. Orphan is directed by the guy who made the House of Wax remake, and that isn't necessarily a good sign, but compared to the options this week it's still the best new date movie in Whistler.

The other option being G-Force a 3D animated flick about gun-toting, super-agent hamsters or guinea pigs or something. It's produced by Jerry Bruckheimer so it's a safe bet to say there will be a lot more action than romance. The only thing romantic about hamsters are their breeding habits. Yee haw, Summer!

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