Adapted from Jay DiPietro’s play of the same name, Peter (Jason Ritter) is an insecure architect who meets Vandy (Jess Weixler), an art gallery employee while she’s eating lunch outside. After blowing his first conversation with her, he tries again and gets her to go out with him. The two of them begin dating, and the story unfolds like most romances do: they have good moments, they have bad moments, and they kind of break each other’s hearts. The catch is that this love story is told out of sequence, and viewers have to sort out what happens when.
It’s impossible to talk about this movie without bringing up the similarities to (500) Days of Summer, which is a love story that is also told out of order. However, Peter and Vandy has none of the flash and (irritating) quirk of Summer, and in that way it’s a more realistic, more satisfying look at a couple and their deteriorating relationship. Scenes where Peter and Vandy first meet are intercut with moments after their break-up, making the moments in between all the more fascinating as viewers watch stupid arguments about how to properly make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich devolve into full-blown shouting matches. It’s a raw look at relationships.
Ritter is good in his role as Peter, an awkward, somewhat bumbling guy who often comes off as shallow. However, it is Weixler who really shines here. She is effortless as a young woman who has her heart broken by a guy who ends up being sort of callous with her feelings. She manages to ground the film despite its leaps in the space-time continuum, and there are moments where she is so luminous that it’s impossible not to see why someone would want to take her home to meet their parents.
Some viewers might take issue with the film’s ending, which seems a little too neat, but the overall film is enjoyable enough to overlook that. Highly recommended for fans of quirky independent romantic dramas.