Ruby Sparks

Director    Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Starring    Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, Steve Coogan
Release    12 OCT (UK)    Certificate 15
4 stars


9th October 2012

A film in which the central character is a writer whose latest creation - a beautiful young woman - suddenly appears as an actual person in front of him, and everything he writes about her becomes true in real life. Hmmm... interesting. Worth a shot, right?

"Time to write that Ruby Sparks review," he thought to himself as he opened up his solid gold laptop. After musing briefly on the magnificent blowjob he was currently receiving, he flexed his perfectly muscular arms, moved aside his winning lottery ticket and huge penis, and began typing.

"There is a dichotomy of sorts in Ruby Sparks," he wrote, not bothering to look up the word 'dichotomy' to make sure he was using it correctly - he just was. "On the one hand, it is a standard indie film about a 20-something in love, complete with charming whimsy, whirlwind montages and, of course, the superlative Manic Pixie Dream Girl. And yet, at the heart of it all is a wholly original tale that gradually unravels these familiar tropes into something far more tangible.

"It's a hugely impressive writing debut from star Zoe Kazan - the titular Ruby Sparks herself," he continued, confident that the third-person style in which he was writing wasn’t going to get old any time soon. "On the surface, the wish-fulfilment premise offers several comedy insights about the nature of relationships in general, and yet there is also a dark undercurrent throughout the film that emphasises the danger of one person having control over another. If you really want to dig beneath the fluffy-go-lightly exterior, the film works remarkably well as a metaphor for an abusive relationship. This becomes more and more apparent as Paul Dano’s Calvin misuses his power to affect Ruby’s mood and personality, simultaneously spoiling her in the process until the whole relationship literally starts to spiral out of control."

He stopped typing, suddenly aware that his review had taken a serious turn, and wondered whether he should make another joke to lighten the mood. Luckily, he was relieved of this dilemma after looking out of this window and spying his brand new Bentley parked outside. Continuing, he wrote: "For the most part, though, comedy always comes back to the fore and it's all credit to Paul Dano who holds the plot together with a surprisingly layered performance. His wide-eyed jittery Calvin - a best-selling novelist prodigy struggling to write his second book - is just the right side of lonely geek to garner sympathy and just the wrong side of selfish to seem at times like an utter bastard.

"While Dano holds the film together, acting as the anxious protagonist offset against his brother’s hunky macho family man, there’s also an astonishing supporting cast of cameoing famous names to enjoy." He typed, hoping to start ending this review soon. "And between Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas as Calvin’s hippy mother and stepfather, Elliott Gould as his shrink, Steve Coogan as the lecherous publisher that discovered him and even True Blood’s Deborah Ann Woll as his ex-girlfriend, each periphery character is actually given depth and significance to the story. Calvin's estrangement from his mother and a childish confrontation with his ex, for example, go a long way in explaining why he clings to Ruby so pathetically.

"Overall, the film is a triumph of its genre - working as both a charming story of love and acceptance, as well as a deconstruction of the very pattern into which these kinds of film so easily fall. Ruby springing from the pages of Calvin's own typewriter to become a real girl might as well be Zoe Kazan denouncing the Manic Pixie Dream Girl template as bullshit. Despite a tendency to come across as twee, and an ending that threatens to undo a lot of its own hard work if read in a particular way, Ruby Sparks is more insightful and powerful than any of us - including Calvin - could have ever imagined.

"There, that will do it" he thought as he finished the review and closed the extremely heavy and impractical gold laptop. Little did he realise at the time that, once published, the work would be cited as the most inventive and creative piece of writing to ever appear on the Internet, and would change the landscape of film criticism forever. In short, everyone would think it was the best thing they have ever read ever. Especially his friends, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

Perfect. Now all I have to do is play the waiting game... Oh crap, I forgot to say who 'He' is. Shit.

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