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Ruby Sparks [DVD]
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A young author creates a character based on his dream girl, and gets the surprise of his life when she turns out to be real. Celebrated novelist Calvin (Paul Dano) used to be the darling of the literary scene; now he's wondering if he'll ever actually write another book. His inspiration at an all-time low, Calvin creates Ruby (screenwriter/co-star Zoe Kazan) and the ideas start flowing. A week later, when Ruby shows up in Calvin's apartment completely smitten, the lonely writer begins to fear he's losing his mind. Elliott Gould, Chris Messina, and Annette Bening also star.
- 3 Featurettes--The Story / Real Life Couples / Be Careful What You Wish For
A romantic comedy about love and control from the directors of Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks is an appealingly wacky story about novelist Calvin (Paul Dano) and his relationship with a fictitious woman. Struggling with writer's block and grieving over a failed actual relationship, Calvin looks to his brother (Chris Messina) and therapist (Elliott Gould) for guidance, but initially he finds only distraction and frustration. The therapist suggests an assignment that soon has Calvin writing about Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan), a fictitious woman who loves him completely and unconditionally. The only problem is that Calvin is becoming obsessed with his new character, imagining that he's actually spending every waking moment with this ideal woman he's created--surely a sign that he's losing his mind. When Calvin discovers that other people can see Ruby too, he throws himself wholeheartedly into the perfect relationship with the perfect woman. Then he starts to feel guilty about possessing absolute control over Ruby's thoughts and actions and begins to question whether Ruby really loves him or whether he is making her love him. Calvin locks away his manuscript and stops writing, and things begin to change between the couple. Eventually Calvin must decide whether he can be content the way things are or whether he must set his creation free--even if it costs him his own happiness. Ruby Sparks is a romantic comedy full of laughably ridiculous situations, but it's also a thought-provoking film about control and acceptance. --Tami Horiuchi
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The real star is manic-pixie-dream-girl Ruby Sparks, played by the writer of the film Zoe Kazan (in a mind-twisting Mobius contortion) whose effervescent personality makes a virtue of a conceit, playing as she does a character with a back-story, but no life experience. However, the male protagonist played by Paul Dano is too self-centred and absorbed to make comfortable viewing. There are nice cameos by Annette Bening and Antonia Banderas, though these are very short and don't really take the plot forward.
This is a reasonably enjoyable evening's viewing. It probably isn't going to be a film you come back to.
"Ruby Sparks" is described as a rom-com (and it had a wonderful movie poster that would not have you guessed what profound issues this film covers), and there are indeed many fine moments that made me laugh (Antonio Banderas shines for a short time he is on screen). But the film also examines a number of serious issues: free will and controlling nature of a human being. I consider "Ruby Sparks" much better than your average romantic comedy (if only a tiny bit boring at times).
The two leads are not your typical Hollywood heartbreakers; another plus - the chemistry between them is great! I guess it helped that Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan are real couple off screen. The break-up scene is greatly played out, and another star goes for a very unsettling moment during the break-up - amazing acting and one of the strongest moments of the film.
‘Ruby Sparks’ is a sweet film, but calling something sweet is a little like damning with faint praise. The film has a whimsical edge to it that makes it perfectly watchable, but it lacks the bite needed for it to stick in the memory. The slightly too cool for school attitude prevails throughout; laid back performances by Paul Dano and Zoë Kazan are at the centre of the movie and really ingrain a slight lethargy to proceedings. This is a shame as the idea is a great one; ‘Stranger than Fiction’ did something similar, but was able to have more likable leads.
That is not to say that either Calvin or Ruby is unlikable, just a little bland. The film is unable to break out in any direction; is it a comedy, drama, horror? It sits in-between all these and eventually becomes just ‘is’. ‘Robot and Frank’ had the same indie sentimentalities to science fiction, but that film had the pathos and emotion this one lacks. If Calvin had learned a little more, or been hit emotionally a little harder, the film could have broken out into something really special. As it is, the film is still watchable and interesting.
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It's a nice romantic film with a bit of a wrist and a little dark too I recommend this film