An imagination can be a powerful thing. The possibilities would be endless if we could manifest objects and people, purely with the power of our mind. An amalgamation of ideas from films like Delirious, Stranger Than Fiction, and dare I say it, Inkheart, Ruby Sparks is a take on the romantic side of the male mind. Charming to a point, Ruby Sparks can’t seem to connect all its points, and emits a dark omen underneath its playful exterior.
A high school dropout, Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) found success as a novelist at the age of 19, when his first book became an instant classic. With accolades that pin him up there with being the next Philip Roth, he hasn’t been able to write another full length novel in 10 years. Lonely, depressed, and pressured by everyone around him, Calvin begins to dream of a mysterious girl every night. With some goading from his psychiatrist, Calvin sets out to write one page about this imaginary woman. He is so enthralled with what he writes though, he just keeps going, to the point he falls asleep at his typewriter. When he awakes, he is shocked to find a woman in his apartment. Not just any women, but the one he was writing about, Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan).
After the shock of his discovery fades, Calvin dives head first into the scenario where he and Ruby have been dating for a few months. When he tries to convince his brother (the only one who previously read the Ruby Sparks manuscript) that she’s real, he discovers something new, he can control what Ruby does simply by writing it. Can Calvin have a happy existence with the woman of his dreams?
Ruby Sparks runs into issues when it doesn’t solidify its purpose. Playing too much like a simple rocky relationship film, it loses sight on what it wants to say. Is it just a simple romance? Is it about needing someone? Is it about understanding you can’t have everything the way you want? Much of the movie focuses on Calvin as a broken man, someone who doesn’t quite understand the inner workings of regular life. The entire story is about him being fixed, but throughout his everyday interactions, much is lost. Inquisitions into his issues fly by on a whim and are not fully investigated. The character’s back story remains too ambiguous to understand what his real issues are (as well, none of his writing is on par with the genius he is said to be).
Ultimately, Ruby Sparks is a romantic comedy that works, but only as that. It has everything you expect from the genre, ups and downs, and a sweet wrap up. However, the entire piece is much darker and disturbing if you really think about. It’s a movie that spends a majority of its running time saying, “Men will never understand women and they can’t try to mold a woman to what they want us to be.” Yet, in the end, whether it’s good for the character or not, she just molds him into what she wants him to be. Surely, it’s a better existence for him, but it’s kind of twisted, isn’t it?
Ruby Sparks is a fairly predictable story, with a few smiles dropped in. Chock full of well known actors, it has enough power to last with its audience, but falls apart with just a twinge of analysis. A pretty face with a monster behind it, Ruby Sparks just doesn’t have enough to keep it all together.
Rating: 2 and a half out of 5 ‘Staches