Written by Matt Mungle
Title: Ruby Sparks
I am a fan of quirky films about quirky people. Stories that are well written and actually delve into how we look and think and act in regards to certain situations. They have to be clever though. When they rely upon regurgitated one liners or take the easy road of sophomoric principles it ends up robbing the viewer. Ruby Sparks is a film that doesn’t steal but gives a lot.
So what if whatever you wrote down on a piece of paper actually came to life? And what if that something was your soul mate and you could create them to be exactly what you want? Calvin (Paul Dano) is a successful though introverted novelist who is struggling with writers block. While everyone is anxiously waiting for his next masterpiece, he is steadily staring at a blank sheet of paper. That is until he has a dream about a girl named Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan). He is so moved by her that he begins to write about her. And the words explode onto the page. His passion is so strong that he actually wills her into existence. And that is when the issues begin.
Kazan not only co-stars in this romantic comedy/drama but also wrote the screenplay. Her take on the quirky characters is one item that makes this film such a winner. The concept of a guy searching for love and then being able to create the girl of his dreams out of thin air and manipulate her emotions by simply typing them on paper is genius. But it goes deeper than that. Calvin thinks he knows what love looks like. But each time he manifests an emotion in Ruby he finds that unchecked and out of context feelings can have dire and often hilarious drawbacks.
Dano is perfect for this role. He has an ability to take awkward genius and internalize it. He makes you understand how uncomfortable Calvin is in his own skin. He truly loves Ruby and wants to make her happy. But to do so means he has to discover his own emotions. The film is directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. This is the same duo that six years ago brought us the fantastic Little Miss Sunshine. Here they once again show their ability to bring about human characteristics and drive a story that is centered on flaws, turmoil, and the peculiar turns of life.
Ruby Sparks is rated R for language including some sexual references, and for some drug use. It is an adult film that takes needs to be approached as an adult to enjoy. Before you get the wrong impression understand that this is not a raunchy comedy. This isn’t that sort of mindless material. Calvin never uses his power the way Hollywood tends to lean. It is mainly R for the language and the dramatic content. Like Little Miss Sunshine it is a cerebral piece and the writing and directing is handled in a very mature way. In a summer of super heroes, dark comic book characters, and shallow laughs, Ruby Sparks is a fantastic pallet cleanser for those liking some meat on their movie outing. Something that is worthy of sinking your teeth into. I give it 4.5 out of 5 bottles of white out. From the script all the way down everything delivers.
Review copyright 2012 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.