How hard is it to find the girl of your dreams? If you found her, would she really live up to your expectations? As a writer, journalist, blogger, and someone who knows the struggles associated with putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, this movie hits home. Not in the sense where I’ve created imaginary friends, or girls to associate with, but the difficulty, and anguish that comes with writing. It’s often said that writers hate to write, but eventually say they are happy that they have written. Ruby Sparks knows this all too well!
Calvin is a genius novelist who begins to type a new novel on his manual typewriter about Ruby, his dream girl. He can’t believe his eyes, because the next day, Ruby becomes a real person, and they begin to have a beautiful relationship together. If the relationship isn’t perfect, all Calvin has to do is simply type the words on the page and Ruby’s actions change to what he needs.
It’s reminiscent of Stranger Than Fiction with Will Ferrell, although Dano plays his part more like Jim Carrey might have done a decade ago: broad and physical, but with subtlety and pathos behind the mugging. In a welcome tonal shift, Ruby Sparks moves gradually from hip romantic comedy to meta-horror – although it feels like there’s a bit too much of the former, as I got the feeling that the zany pixie girl and self- hating writer stereotypes were being indulged more than they were being deconstructed. So what could have been a really interesting Woody Allen-esque philosophical rabbit-hole ends up cutting a far more familiar, shallower groove. But still, it’s satisfying to see a cautionary flourish to go with the wish fulfillment.
No, Ruby Sparks isn’t as funny or as thoroughly engaging as Little Miss Sunshine. Having said that, Ruby Sparks occasionally falls into the typical vices of independent cinema. The screenplay has some forced elements and occasionally can’t avoid a pretentious air, which is characteristic of the “Sundance syndrome”. Going back to the pros, most of the cast brings competent performances, highlighting Kazan. I think the only weak spot is Antonio Banderas, who feels kinda forced in his character.
In summary, I enjoyed Ruby Sparks pretty much and I recommend it to the fans of the romantic comedy as well as to its haters, because it proves that the genre can produce interesting and amusing stuff when it’s in the hands of filmmakers with talent.
Ruby Sparks [Blu-ray] is available for your holiday (or anyday) purchase at Amazon.com and other retailers.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Overall: 4 manic pixie dreams out of 5
Review by Bro’ B – Ben
We received product for our review. All opinions are our own