Ruby Sparks

"Excellent"

Ruby Sparks Review


A romantic comedy with a dark twist, this film gets under the skin as it knowingly explores both the writing process and the nature of relationships. It also gives its cast a lot to play with in scenes that feature both broad slapstick and much more serious drama.

Paul Dano stars as Calvin, a writer who struck lightning with his first novel at age 19 and hasn't been able to write anything since. His brother (Messina) teases him about his future, his agent (Mandvi) is pushing him to write a new novel, and his therapist (Gould) just wants him to write something, anything. So he starts typing up a story about the girl (Kazan) who appears in his dreams. Then there she is, Ruby Sparks, in his kitchen! Sure he's officially losing his mind, he's shocked to discover that others can see her too. So he brings her into his life as his girlfriend, even introducing her to his hippie mother and stepdad (Benning and Banderas).

The film starts out as a breezy comedy, and Dano plays these scenes for laughs, including several broadly silly set-pieces as Calvin first meets Ruby. But the undertone very quickly starts turning serious, as we begin to understand the central themes about how we relate to our partners. Would we control their behaviour if we could? Get rid of annoying habits? Make them be more like our idea of the perfect spouse? But of course, that would cause a whole new set of problems.

Dano is excellent in this leading-man role, getting the balance just right as a guy who hasn't quite grown up. His charming, offhanded awkwardness has never been quite this endearing. And while Kazan (Dano's real-life partner) is sometimes a bit too wacky as Ruby, her chemistry with Dano is sparky and surprising. Messina adds another layer of interest as the only person in on Calvin's secret, a lively guy with problems of his own. And Banderas and Bening are very funny in their scenes. As they did in Little Miss Sunshine, directors Dayton and Faris use their eclectic ensemble beautifully to combine quirky comedy with more serious issues while keeping the audience happily engaged.

Rich Cline



Ruby Sparks

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 6th September 2012

Box Office USA: $2.5M

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight

Production compaines: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Fresh: 133 Rotten: 35

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

Starring: as Mort, as Mabel, as Calvin, as Lila, as Gertrude, as Langdon Tharp, as Dr. Rosenthal, as Harry, as Ruby, as Cyrus Modi, as Warren, as Susie, Eleanor Seigler as Mandi, John F. Beach as Adam

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.