Starring: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan
Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Runtime: 1 hour 45 minutes
Fox Searchlight, 2012
Ruby Sparks is the best movie you haven’t seen this year. A romantic comedy with a definite twist Ruby Sparks is reminiscent of the Will Ferrell, Helen Mirren comedy Stranger Than Fiction but with a strong romantic bent as well as being much darker in spots than Stranger Than Fiction was.
Paul Dano is Calvin Weir-Fields a brilliant young novelist who has seemingly already written his opus and is struggling to find his voice again. Calvin is a mess of anxiety, sexual insecurity and narcissistic tendencies that are mostly endearing but can be a little annoying. While in his therapist’s office one day he is challenged to just start writing. Write anything, a short story, a character sketch it can be horrible as long as he writes it and brings it back to the therapist to read. Paul takes up the challenge and starts writing a story about a girl who likes him and his dog just the way they are. The girls name is Ruby who is played with delightful vigor by Zoe Kassan who also wrote the screenplay for Ruby Spark.
The movie revolves around Ruby suddenly coming to life. A full blown real woman living in Paul’s house. The dark turn comes when Paul realizes that he has complete control over Ruby because he is literally the author of her destiny. There are some fun family dynamics Ruby Sparks with Paul’s brother Harry (Chris Messina) and Harry’s wife Susie (Toni Trucks) his mother (Annette Benning) and step father (Antonio Banderas). The story is really about Paul and his relationship with women in general and Ruby in particular. There are some genuine laugh out loud moments in Ruby Sparks which are joined by the mildly amusing, charming and bitter sweet and dark and disturbing. The emotional gamut of Ruby Sparks really is all over the place but that is what makes this movie.
Ruby Sparks is a romantic comedy which can best be compared with another charmer featuring another Zoe: 500 Days of Summer. Not in terms of content but in terms of the total disregard for the romantic comedy formula. Ruby Sparks is fresh, original and well worth your time.
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