We all get a kick out of Charlie Kaufman's oddball stories, right? Zach Helm and Sophie Barthes did; the former's Stranger Than Fiction was a delight and although the latter's Cold Souls wasn't focused, there was certainly an imagination there to enjoy. Elia Kazan's granddaughter Zoe can be added to that list, taking the eccentric vibe and applying it here to a High Concept model.
Calvin (Dano) is a lonely writer, famous for the best seller he wrote while only nineteen. He's struggled to follow up on it and spends his days staring at the blank page sitting atop his typewriter and dreaming of the perfect girl, Ruby (Kazan). His dreams of Ruby become reality when he gets an idea for a story about her; his typing wills Ruby into being and, getting over the initial reaction - that being, 'have I finally gone insane?' - he settles into the idea of falling in love with his fantasy girl. Vowing never to alter her, when Ruby begins to lose interest in Calvin he's left with no option but to return to his typewriter to make some tweaks.
What keeps one guessing as to where this is going is Ruby herself. She is unlike other imaginary movie characters (no list, no spoilers) in that she can be seen and touched and talked to by everyone. Calvin takes Ruby to his flaky mother's (Bening) house, whom she lives with her own 'fantasy' man, the perfection that is hippy DIY enthusiast Mort (Banderas), and to a party where she's hit on by Calvin's agent (a slimy and underused Steve Coogan).
I admit it took me a long time to buy into this. For an hour I felt it wasn't sure what it wanted to be – an indie rom-com with a mainstream high concept idea or a mainstream rom-com with indie roots – and it seemed to flounder under this indecisiveness. Before Ruby appears there are hints at her imminent arrival: Calvin discovers bras, panties and other female bric-a-brac in his drawer, which should have been a real turning point – Who owns these things? What are they doing here? - but bar mild surprise, Calvin shrugs it off. Incidents like these are worrying signs that the idea wasn't thought through.
Then, however, the story begins to reveal its charms and darker notions. In its second half, Kazan dives into territory a lot murkier than its fluffy first and explores the natural conclusion to the male fantasy. Calvin's brother (Chris Messina), assuming the loudmouth buddy part you find in mainstream comedies, pleads with Calvin to give her bigger boobs and to 'encourage' sexually adventurous scenarios. Basically, a sex slave. "You owe it to every guy out there," he tells him.
Ruby Sparks manages to be smart, sweet and, yes, scary.
Review by Gavin Burke | 14:10 | Thursday 4th October 2012 | Movie Review
I saw this movie today , I was expecting a bit silly romcom but instead it had a good story line and great acting . Makes you realise there is no such thing as a perfect partner for you . Fun to watch and enjoyed itPosted 22:56 | Sat 13th Oct 2012
An exasperating, infuriating, dreary film. It takes a (literally) ancient idea and does precisely nothing with it. The last film that was this smug and blithely unaware of its own ineptitude was the similarly alienating 500 DAYS OF SUMMER. It turns out that writer, 29-year old Zoe Kazan is the grand-daughter of powerful film director Elia Kazan. A dreadful script that should have remained written in pink biro within the pages of her unicorn-covered journal had the money hose turned on it: result four star reviews and a packed cinema.Posted 20:38 | Fri 2nd Nov 2012
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