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Ruby Sparks

Ruby Sparks

Released 12 October 2012
Director(s) Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, Aasif Mandvi, Steve Coogan
Writer(s) Zoe Kazan
Producer(s) Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa
Origin United States
Running Time 104 minutes
Genre Comedy, fantasy, romance
Rating 15A

Sparks a thought that never lights.

Anyone who has seen and liked Stranger Than Fiction will probably find something to admire about Ruby Sparks. Their concepts are similar but portrayed in very different ways. In the latter, some serious questions about the depth and intensity of relationships are queried, if unfortunately never answered and ultimately lamely concluded. While there is a lot to take from this innovative movie, the ending, flawed and deceptive as it is, is a cop out.

Calvin is a young novelist who garnered widespread fame when, as a teenager, his first book became a New York Times best-seller. A decade on, his inspiration has been in short supply. That is until he randomly starts to dream about, well, his dream girl. Rejuvenated, Calvin begins writing another groundbreaking novel only to one day wake up and find his subject, Ruby Sparks, in his kitchen – a part of reality and susceptible to the influence of what he adds to his new book. While at first Calvin swears not to take advantage of the situation, when Ruby becomes tiresome of his quirky, controlling manner he returns to the typewriter to control his factitious love.

While following many of the typical traits of a regular rom-com, this film does pose some interesting and serious questions about life or, in particular, relationships. More specifically, how one or both parties can become controlling in an obsessive, unhealthy manner and the lengths some may actually go to eventually attain what the want. If you had the power to literally control your other half, what would you do? Would you be able to stop if it got out of hand? If the story had persisted along this course it could have reached some compelling theories. But it didn't, and it is for that reason that there are problems.

It neither delved dark enough nor stayed in a familiar place of rosiness and smiles. It hovered between the two in an effort to happily satisfy a generic audience and, for a film that's concept is risky, it is indeed this hesitation to go beyond the realms and broaden the mind with a deeper imagination that ultimately leaves it falling way short of what it could have been. The possibility was there for an indie masterpiece – an American classic, as is mentioned in the film about Calvin's debut novel. Instead, Ruby Sparks has to settle with being an enjoyable throwaway.

- David Caulfield