True love and chaos, Ruby Sparks style
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.
Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan star in the complex and surreal roundabout love story