Just My Imagination: Ruby Sparks Would Be One Hell of a Girl If She Were Real, But Kazan’s Rough Draft Falls Flat
If you’re an actor looking for work, it helps to have a girlfriend who is a writer. So Paul Dano, whose dour, limburger face is matched only by a charisma that is the screen equivalent of road kill, is a lucky fellow. His roommate and offscreen squeeze, Zoe Kazan, has provided them both with the screenplay to Ruby Sparks, an engaging if lightweight romcom directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the team that hit pay dirt with Little Miss Sunshine. This one passes the time pleasantly enough, but history isn’t likely to repeat itself. The script is breezy, but neither of the two leads have the heft or charm to carry an entire feature-length film—separately or together. I kept wondering, while glancing at my watch, what it would have been like with Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried, or James Wolk and anybody.
The morose Mr. Dano plays Calvin Weir-Fields, a shy novelist in horn-rimmed glasses who wrote a best-seller at 19 but now suffers painfully from writer’s block. Well, naturally; it’s ten years later, and he doesn’t even own a computer. So emotionally underdeveloped that his shrink (welcome back, Elliot Gould) gives him a fuzzy stuffed toy to cuddle with on the couch while he’s being analyzed, Calvin is awkward, socially inept and unable to get laid. So along comes a girl he calls Ruby Sparks, who falls in love with him faster than he can speed-dial his own cell phone. There’s just one snag. She exists only in his imagination. Read More