True love and chaos, Ruby Sparks style

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CONTENTS -

LOPPY-HAIRED, be­spec­ta­cled book­worm Calvin dreams of a bub­bly, care­free girl named Ruby. The noc­tur­nal vi­sions prove to be per­fect in­spi­ra­tion for his new book. That is, un­til Ruby ma­te­ri­alises one morn­ing in Calvin’s kitchen.

Be­tween trips to his ther­a­pist and walks in the park, so his dog can ‘‘go potty’’, dys­func­tional au­thor Calvin (Paul Dano) has com­posed his per­fect part­ner us­ing a type­writer. Doe-eyed Ruby (Dano’s real-life part­ner, Zoe Kazan) has no idea she’s the cre­ation of her boyfriend’s imag­i­na­tion. And so be­gins the com­plex and sur­real film, Ruby Sparks.

Ruby Sparks is co-di­rected by Jonathan Day­ton and Va­lerie Faris, who were also re­spon­si­ble for an­other of Dano’s films, the com­edy Lit­tle Miss Sun­shine.

A round­about love story, Ruby Sparks is a fan­tasy that swings be­tween light-hearted, young love and down­right dark re­la­tion­ship blues.

Is the whole thing a dream? Is this a snip­pet of life inside Calvin’s un­sta­ble mind? Leave any sense of logic at the door as the ques­tions keep com­ing.

As the au­di­ence wran­gle with the im­pos­si­ble con­cept of the film, life con­tin­ues for Calvin and Ruby.

There are hints of a typ­i­cal, cutesy Hol­ly­wood ro­man­tic com­edy – in­clud­ing meet­ing the kooky in­laws, and eat­ing from the same break­fast bowl – but over­whelm­ingly, Ruby Sparks is an anal­y­sis of re­la­tion­ships and how the par­ties in­volved view them­selves and their part­ner.

Here are some of the dilem­mas faced by ev­ery cou­ple which keep re­la­tion­ship coun­sel­lors in busi­ness: stark, real, and un­flat­ter­ing for those in­volved. But in Ruby Sparks, it’s all served with a comic chaser, which only some­times hits the mark.

Re­fresh­ingly, Calvin and Ruby are not the typ­i­cal buffed, bronzed and flaw­less char­ac­ters (think Friends With Ben­e­fits) who will drive a film’s pop­u­lar­ity.

Skinny and pasty, Calvin is a dweeb who doesn’t im­prove with time. Ruby is en­dear­ing, but clumsy, and cer­tainly doesn’t be­come an ob­ject of male de­sire.

How will it end? Soon, some will hope.

opens to­day.

Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan star in the com­plex and sur­real round­about love story

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