Ruby Sparks (2012) Film Review

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I wanted to like this film. I truly did. Paul Dano is a terrific actor with a lot to give the world. But I just couldn’t bear another story of an emotionally stunted young man who falls in love with a manic pixie dream girl. The main difference in this film is that rather than meeting the quirky character in a doctor’s office or pysch ward, she is a creation of his brain.

Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) is an author who had a best-seller at eighteen years of age. Now, ten years or so later, he is still struggling with a second novel. He has no friends and the only women who find him interesting are obsessed fans of his first book. His shrink advises him to write about a girl who likes his fearful little dog, Scotty. Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan) is invented. Calvin becomes obsessed with Ruby, then suddenly, she is actually in his life.

I wonder if I would have liked this film more if Ruby was not such a manic pixie dream girl. Perhaps if Calvin was as he is, but Ruby was more real; less annoying. Perhaps the film would have been less of a cliché. Perhaps I would have enjoyed this clever premise more. As it is, I found it tired and boring and the end was totally disappointing. Plus, it made me start to hate other films which have similar premise, no matter that they do it better. 500 Days of Summer, Garden State. Even Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Ruby Sparks, you’ve broken my heart.

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