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Ruby Sparks
Genre Romance

The girl of your dreams usually stays there, but what if she didn't? What if she lived in your mind and in your house? Describing Ruby Sparks as a high concept fantasy "romcom" is an insult to the film. It's so much more... sidestepping the temptation to distort her physical attributes, they've written the story from an emotional perspective - going to some pretty dark places.

The film is delivered by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the directors of Little Miss Sunshine, the indie comedy that "introduced" Paul Dano. His quiet start was only a prelude to greatness as he ramps his way up the ranks with appearances in almost 20 films in the last 6 years, including: There Will Be Blood, Being Flynn, Cowboys & Aliens, Looper and now Ruby Sparks.

Dano's thoughtful performance as an introspective writer is tempered with fascination as he watches his creation from the swirling perspectives of an author, a boyfriend, an ex and in some ways Dr. Frankenstein. Ruby Sparks is a fairy tale kind of beautiful, played by the enigmatic Zoe Kazan, who is probably best known for her character in Revolutionary Road. As the screenwriter, Kazan has special insights and uses these to colour her manic pixie character with kaleidoscopic precision.

The rest of the cast seem like an unnecessary tightrope safety net for the co-leads, who carry the film with great confidence. Although, having the likes of Steve Coogan, Antonnio Banderas, Annette Bening  and Elliot Gould doesn't take anything away from the array of quirky sideshow characters. The seasoned actors give Ruby Sparks instant indie comedy muscle and offer the younger talents a chance to outshine them.

Ruby Sparks is entertaining, quirky romance comedy fun. The film embraces the calamity of a real-life dream girl and instead of basking in the situational comedy runs the story beyond the honeymoon. The aftermath is where reality kicks in, providing a thought-provoking commentary on modern relationships as imbalances play out and the dream spirals into an uncontrollable nightmare.

Just like Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks isn't a mainstream release. While the concept has the makings of a commercial "romcom", the film-makers are concerned with exploring the consequences of this be-careful-what-you-wish-for scenario. The movie trailer makes it seem like a happy-go-lucky date movie, but it is far from bubbly and can be quite prickly at times.

Ruby Sparks loses some of its impact with a last minute play to satisfy its commercial tendencies, but the mainstay remains taut and intact thanks to the chemistry and conviction of its co-leads and the story's originality and staying power. If you enjoyed Stranger Than Fiction and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you will be pleasantly surprised by this little indie gem.

The bottom line: Fascinating


7.00/10 ( 2 Votes )
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