Ruby Sparks

A novelist struggling with writer’s block finds romance in a most unusual way: by creating a female character he thinks will love him, then willing her into existence. (IMDB)

Writer:  Zoe Kazan
Director:  Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Stars:   Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina
Runtime/Rating:  104 Minutes/R
Popcorn Score:  Large Popcorn

Sometimes a last minute, forced change in plans turns out just fine.  That is the case when traffic prevented my GF Ann and I from making it to the movie we originally scheduled for ourselves on Saturday afternoon.  I’m sure “2 days in Paris” is going to be a very enjoyable film when we do finally catch it, but we made the most out of a gridlocked day in Seattle by maneuvering our way to a much closer theater that happened to be showing “Ruby Sparks” at the perfect time!

This fanciful story about a young novelist that writes the girl of his dreams straight from his imagination to his real life is as entertaining throughout as the plot would suggest.  It is a refreshing and original story that fluently mixes fantasy and reality. Paul Dano plays Calvin, a mid to late 20’s author that only 10 years ago wrote an American Masterpiece while still in high school.  Financially, he lives comfortably with his only problems being some social ineptness and the struggles of writers block for his sophomore novel.  Based on either an assignment given to him by his psychiatrist or a dream that he has one night about a beautiful backlit girl of his dreams, he awakes and rushes to his typewriter to create his next story.  He is writing and writing, nonstop, he explains to his shrink that he writes so he can be with her.  One day he wakes up, and she is there.

At first, he believes himself to have gone crazy, but once his creation named Ruby is seen, heard, and interacting with others, he knows this is something of a miracle. It’s a relief that the movie doesn’t try to explain how this could be true because it obviously couldn’t be.  Instead it rolls along with the interesting concept, showing the perfect along with the terrible ways that Calvin, the author of a human life can manipulate the situation.   It also keeps a revolving door of refreshing characters that are both honest and entertaining to ground the story and keep it light.  All of the performances in the movie are very good.  The guest spots by Annette Bening who plays the mother, Antonio Banderas who is her free spirited partner, and Steve Coogan as Calvin’s seedy manager all energize the story.   Chris Messina gives his 2nd solid performance of the summer after playing a similar part in “Celest and Jesse Forever”.  He makes an unfortunate decision to co-star in the poorly titled “The Mindy Project” coming to Fox this fall.  I hope for his case (and the TV viewing populous) that it will be a short lived poor decision so he can move on to better projects.  Although I don’t care for Paul Dano, he is talented and has a strong grasp of his craft – which sounds dirtier than it is.  However, the highest prize goes to his real life girlfriend Zoe Kazan who writes and costars in this imaginative and entertaining story.

Large Popcorn. 

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