I really should have my lawyer contact Zooey Deschanel.
After my divorce, I realized I needed to make some changes in my life. I had become too insular, content to just go home in the evenings and spend my time there. I had almost no social life outside those walls, which had been one thing when I shared them with someone, but was something else entirely then. So I decided to do something about it.
Specifically, I decided that I was going to accept any and all invitations. If someone asked if anyone wanted to go see a movie that night, I did. Wanna come by the house for a bit before the Cowboy Mouth concert? Sure. Waffle King after an improv show? OK. Kayaking? Check. And on and on. There were some evenings I’m just as glad I don’t have to repeat, but some of my best friends and favorite hobbies came out of that, as well.
So late last year, I went and watched Zooey Deschanel in Yes Man. Basically, the idea of the movie is that Jim Carrey makes a pledge to say yes to anything anyone asks him to do.
A funny coincidence. But then, this weekend, I went to see her latest movie, her next after Yes Man.
The one-line description on Fandango got me interested — “After his lover dumps him, a writer tries to figure out where their relationship went wrong.”
Well, yeah, OK, I can empathize. Tell me more, please.
You see, “After it looks as if she’s left his life for good this time, Tom Hansen reflects back on the just over one year that he knew Summer Finn. … For Tom, it was love at first sight … Soon, Tom knew that Summer was the woman with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life. Although Summer did not believe in relationships or boyfriends … Tom and Summer became more than just friends.” Sure, sure.
And, yeah, there is a part of me that was amused when an EW columnist described the female lead as “an infuriating, commitment-phobic young woman.”
My curiosity piqued, I went to see it Sunday. And it’s nice to know that my life is pretty much interesting enough to float a movie.
Oh, sure, there were differences. The ex-Beatle that played a role in the movie story was Ringo Starr instead of George Harrison; the Regina Spektor music in the soundtrack was different. The circumstances around her catching the bouquet at the wedding they attended were not the same. But there was still a bench.
It actually was kind of funny, in a surreal way. In all seriousness, there were a lot of differences — the timetable of the 500 days of their story, for example, was very much not that of the last year and a half of my life. If we’d been very different people, it might have played out more that way, but we are who we are. On the flip side, the similiarities — it was odd to hear words I’d spoken, words spoken to me, play out almost verbatim as movie dialogue. And, ironically, the movie’s out-of-order chronology, that let you see a glimpse of the reunion before the break-up — well, even before the meeting — made me assume for a huge chunk of the film that it was even more like my life than it turned out to be.
A friend asked me afterwards what I got out of it. And, hey, you know, it is just a movie. Similarities in story aside, there are pretty substantial differences between the characters and their real-life equivalents, though I’ll admit I did see myself in some aspects of Tom, giving me things about myself that I’ll have to ponder.
But for the big picture, I guess, if anything, there’s this — life is life. Yeah, this was just a movie, but it was a self-aware one in that respect; acknowledging that this is not a typical love story, because real-life love stories don’t always come with Hollywood endings. There are no guarantees, only possibilities.
For those that aren’t me, I would still recommend the movie. It was funny and heart-wrenching and real.
And, of course, Zooey Deschanel doesn’t really have any insight into my life. The coincidences are just that. In fact, there’s even a disclaimer at the beginning noting that the movie is a work of fiction, and any similarity to real people is just a coincidence.
Still … care to guess how many days it was between the first time we had dinner together at P.F. Chang’s and the day that she last broke up with me?