Ruby Sparks

Write a Girlfriend


26 July 2012| No Comments on Ruby Sparks     by Sean Chavel


This concept should takeoff ebulliently but instead it falls into the doldrums. Ruby Sparks is about a writer who creates a character who comes to flesh and bone life, and devotes everything to him. The geekiness of Paul Dano doesn’t bother me, since he embeds his character’s needs with a kind of fervent, astute craving. It’s not Dano’s fault, but the script’s, which turns him into an overboard mope. Zoe Kazan (granddaughter of Elia Kazan), who wrote the film, is the ideal Muse/Girlfriend whom you imagine is wearing strawberry perfume, lights up our hero’s long dormant love life. He has the power to tweak and rewrite her if he wants to. Of course, eventually he does. Even when the film wasn’t merrily working, I was curious what Calvin Weir-Fields (Dano) would write next.

Ruby thinks she is real because she has been written with so much background detail. She is immediately embraced by Calvin’s brother, his mother, and his mother’s lover. Yet Calvin – like all hard-thinking guys – sometimes just wants to be left alone to read a book. Oh, I must add now, this is one of those movies where Steve Coogan has a delectable small role you want more of – the preening literary agent who gets soused then waxes creative philosophy.

When we get to the scenes where Calvin writes in new behavior for Ruby, he does that one sentence at a time, with the inevitable faulty logic. It would have been nice to trust the audience to see Calvin writing more complex compound sentences and paragraphs to transform his girlfriend. Of course, Ruby is a creation with fragile, crumbly, emotions.

As you can probably guess, it’s kind of an interesting movie but there’s little euphoria to it. Mopey Calvin is one of those guys who can’t like a girl who is different from who he is. And the melancholic direction by Jonathan Drayton and Valerie Faris, hinders its potential.

Annette Bening as the mother; Antonio Banderas as the lover; Chris Messina as the brother; Elliott Gould as the shrink.

104 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Harvey” (1948); “Weird Science” (1985); “Stranger than Fiction” (2006); “Synedoche, New York” (2008).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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