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- Festival Review: Austin City Limits
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Random Netflix Rental: “Ruby Sparks”
Ruby Sparks (2012), 104 min.
Rated R for language including some sexual references and drug use.
Written by Zoe Kazan
Directed by Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Starring: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina, Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Calvin Weir-Fields (Dano), a writing prodigy who experienced fame when he was a much younger man, has been struggling to write his next big novel. One night while sleeping, Weir-Fields dreams about his ideal girl, Ruby Sparks (Kazan), and like magic, the following morning Sparks is lifted from the page and becomes a real person.
How hard is it to find the person of your dreams? And if you do find them, what happens when you get exactly what you want? These are some of the many questions asked of the audience when watching Kazan’s enthusiastically quirky, original romantic-comedy, “Ruby Sparks.”
As a writer who comes from a family of accomplished filmmakers, the beautiful and talented Kazan, granddaughter of legendary director Elia Kazan (“East of Eden,” 1955) crafts a script full of viciously addictive characters. The audience wants to know more about these characters, which is bizarre for audiences because it’s unusual to crave scenes with heavy dialogue. However, it comes as no surprise because the film is directed by the duo that brought us the fantastic, Oscar-winning “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006).
The talent behind the camera is just as strong as the talent in front. There’s a lot of solid support from the ensemble cast, particularly Messina (“Celeste and Jesse Forever,” 2012) as Weir-Fields’ brother, who takes the role of the stereotypical perfect brother and jazzes him up. Messina’s charm and humor causes him to sweep the film right out from under everyone. However, the main focus is on real-life couple Kazan and Dano. They generate genuine “sparks” and are perfectly in tune with one another.
“Ruby Sparks” is a delightful film that tests the limits of reality, serving as an Altoid for its genre. I recommend it to fans and non-fans of romantic-comedies because it proves that the genre can produce seductive films when it’s in the hands of filmmakers who know what they are doing and are good at it.
“Ruby Sparks” is also available on Blu-ray and DVD today.