From the directors of Little Miss Sunshine, an offbeat romantic tale about a struggling writer caught in an unusual relationship when his fictional character, Ruby Sparks, suddenly comes to life. Now playing nationwide.
Ruby Sparks revolves around one of those high concept ideas that I generally have a low tolerance for. 'Man creates fictional girl, girl comes to life' sounded a bit like a Weird Science for the indie set, and I was primed to throw the word 'quirky' all over this review.
Sure enough, the film does trade in the slightly melancholy, slightly funny filmmaking that Sundance loves and that I'm exhausted of. But, by the end of Ruby Sparks I was won over. Kind of.
The first half of the film was more or less what I was expecting - a Manic Pixie Dream Girl male fantasy. I should've been clued in by the fact Ruby Sparks was written by lead actress Zoe Kazan though, because the film slowly reveals a more feminine perspective, which leads to a dark turn of events in the third act. Ruby Sparks also ends up making some reasonably astute observations about relationships, love, and what we expect from our significant others.
Paul Dano does reliably good work as the literary genius with writer's block, Kazan easily transcends the 'quirky girl' role her script requires, and both Antonio Banderas and Annette Bening turn in warm performances with a limited amount of screen time. Oh and Steve Coogan could play the kind of slimy twerp he does here in his sleep at this point, but it's always great to see him.
By the end, I'd forgotten how silly the whole thing was, and enjoyed Ruby Sparks as the sweet little modern fable it's aiming to be.