I was happily surprised with Ruby Sparks, seeing as I went in knowing nothing about it and assuming it was more IB (Indie-bullshit), but I ended up really enjoying it. After watching the movie I looked up to see who the writers and directors were and to my surprise saw it was directed by the Little Miss Sunshine directing duo (Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris), and written by the film’s female star (Zoe Kazan). The movie is just a solid quirky romantic comedy that plays on the idea of the ultimate manic-pixie-dream-girl by having one actually come to life. Paul Dano plays Calvin Weir-Fields, a one-hit-wonder writer who was praised as a prodigy after the release of his first book but has yet to make anything worthwhile since. One day after going to therapy he is given an assignment to write about anything. He then starts to have strange dreams about a girl named Ruby Sparks, whom he then writes about the minute he wakes up. The dream girl soon becomes an addiction as he finds himself more and more inclined to sleep just so he can have more dreams with Ruby in them. He begins to fall in love with his character, and then one day she becomes real. That’s all I will say of the plot because that’s all you need to know. If that doesn’t interest you then you probably won’t care, but this is far better than 500 Days of Summer and most other Manic Pixie Dream Girl movies that have come out recently (usually staring Zooey Deschanel or Michael Cera).
Perhaps it’s because she wrote the movie so she should know the character best but the standout performance of the movie goes to writer/star Zoe Kazan whose bubbly personality gives a great foil to the Calvin character. Paul Dano is very loveable as the narcissistic writer who is essentially falling in love with his brain, and Steve Coogan is hilarious as always.
The trailers of the film are somewhat misleading because they don’t accurately capture what the movie is really about, and while watching them for the first time after seeing the movie I wasn’t sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing. If I had seen the trailer before watching the movie I would probably not have any interest whatsoever, but it’s also nice to see a trailer that doesn’t give everything away. The movie is by no means one of my favorite films of the year, but it’s damn good fun for what it is.
Ruby Sparks opens in Philly area theaters this Friday.