Film: Ruby Sparks (2012)
Cast includes: Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine), Zoe Kazan (Revolutionary Road), Chris Messina (Julie & Julia), Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Antonio Banderas (Desperado), Steve Coogan (The Parole Officer), Asiv Manvi (The Dictator), Elliot Gould (Oceans Eleven)
Director: Jonathan Dayton (Little Miss Sunshine), Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine)
Writer: Zoe Kazan (First screenplay)
Genre: Comedy | Romance | Fantasy (104 minutes)
"Go potty, Scottie." Calvin has to get home and work on his next novel. But that said, every distraction is a welcome relief from facing the blank page. Lunch with brother Harry is tedious. "Ok? Your date last week went ok? Ok, like, you got laid?" Calvin has hardly dated at all since he broke up with Lila. "I had a weird dream last night about a girl." But he didn't even get laid in his dream! Calvin has issues. Dr. Rosenthal wants to help Calvin with writer's block. But it's hard to know where to start. It's a real comedown for a writer who was pronounced "brilliant" at age 19. Even Calvin's dog, Scottie, is a source of discontent. "He pees like a girl." This gives Dr. Rosenthal an idea. Instead of trying to write the novel, he makes Calvin promise to write just one page about someone who likes Scottie just the way he is.
That's when the girl from Calvin's dream reappears. She's a cute redhead... a quirky free spirit. At first Ruby thinks Scottie is a girl. "He just pees like a girl." About his name... Scottie's named for F. Scott Fitzgerald. Ruby's face is blank... "Is he famous?" Anyway, she likes Scottie just the way he is. Calvin writes more than just a page... he writes feverishly. And when he sleeps, he dreams about Ruby. Ruby is more than just a muse... she's practically real. Calvin's so excited about what he's writing that he gives the first part to Harry to read. "You haven't written a real person," Harry tells Calvin. "You don't know jack-shit about women." Ouch. That hurts. When Harry notices the red bra and panties in Calvin's house, Calvin's struggles to explain. The next morning, Calvin finds Ruby in the kitchen making breakfast. She's actually there! Is he losing his mind?
Eventually Calvin figures out that the girl he's written is flesh-and-blood real. He's not the only one who sees her. Everyone does. What could be more perfect! But as they say... be careful what you wish for. Writing a real girl isn't quite as perfect as Calvin first believes. Ruby Sparks, the movie, is clever, creative and charming. Because it's a fantasy, it keeps us guessing about where it's going to go. Zoe Kazan, who plays Ruby also wrote the screenplay... her first. Her talent is evident in both roles. It's not easy to tell a story like this and bring it to a logical, satisfactory conclusion. But this one will have you smiling all the way through. When brother Harry finally figures out that Ruby is a slave to Calvin's writing, he's delighted for his brother. "You can, like, make her do anything!" But Calvin soon learns that he doesn't want to make Ruby be Ruby. He just wants Ruby to be Ruby. And that's harder than writing her.
4 popped kernels (Scale: 0-4)
When a novelist writes about his dream girl, she actually comes to life
Rated: R (Sexual content)
Audience: Young adults
Distribution: Mainstream limited release
Tempo: Cruises comfortably
Visual Style: Nicely varnished realism
Character Development: Not that kind of film
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Pure entertainment
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You may also want to read about other quirky movies:
Damsels in Distress
Everything is Illuminated
A Private Function