It's no surprise that Zoe Kazan who penned the delightful new film Ruby Sparks opening today is a good writer. Both her parents – Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord are also top tier Hollywood screenwriters. Ruby Sparks is the story of Calvin Weir-Fields (played by Kazan's real life boyfriend Paul Dano) a wunderkind writer whose first novel was a huge sensation and success. It's been some time and Calvin can't write and has become a depressed recluse caught in a vicious cycle of staring at the typewriter to no effect. Then one night he dreams of Ruby Sparks and then poof a short time later her clothing starts appearing and then she appears in his house acting like his girlfriend. Of course, Calvin who is already in therapy for his writer's block, thinks he has finally had the psychotic break he has been dreading. But he quickly realizes that he's not completely crazy because other people can also see Ruby. He then realizes that he can literally make Ruby do anything he wants from speaking French to never leaving his side making her the perfect girlfriend and according to his brother a legend to all men.
It sounds lkind of too cute for its own good but don't be fooled thinking that this is just a cutesy movie. It is much smarter than that, but does take a much appreciated light handed approach. It deals with themes that are universal like the pressures of creativity, what happens when you peak too soon, and the ramifications of your dreams coming true in a smart and unexpected way.
The directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton bring the same comic sensibility mixed with seriousness that they showed with Little Miss Sunshine and the film really benefits from having real life couple Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan play Calvin and Ruby.