What would you do if you had access to a typewriter that gave you total control over the person of your dreams? Wait, back up. What if you had a typewriter that would bring that person of your dreams to life? Now, imagine that this person is living in your house, cooking you breakfast. What would you type if you knew that typewriter controlled their every move?
“Ruby Sparks” is the story of Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano), a hugely successful young writer who’s first novel is stated to be just as important as “The Catcher in the Rye”. He’s a shy, wealthy, socially awkward wunderkind who lives with his only friend, a small dog named Scotty. His struggles revolve around trying to write his second book and dealing with all of the people who are anxious to hear what his next “great American novel” will be. His only solace from the busy L.A. scene is in his therapists office, clutching a small teddy bear and lamenting about his writer’s block. At the end of one of their sessions, Calvin’s doctor asks him to write one simple page, in hopes to spark some inspiration.
After another overnight run-in with his dream girl, Calvin wakes up and the pages start pouring out of him. He’s addicted to writing about this witty redhead from his dreams, Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan). Calvin invents her entire story, obsessing over every detail of her life, missing meetings and therapy sessions in the process. Then, one morning, he wakes up to find Ruby making him breakfast. Convinced that he’s gone insane, he frantically calls his therapist and brother pleading for help. He sneaks back downstairs only to be confronted by a confused Ruby who proves she’s not a hallucination by touching him and telling Calvin that he’s acting strange.
Things start to get really bizarre when Calvin’s brother comes over and meets Ruby. Once his brother confirms that Ruby is actually there, he and Calvin quickly rationalize only two possible explanations for her existence: 1) she’s a psychotic super fan who somehow got her hands on the pages he’s been writing; or 2) Calvin literally created the girl of his dreams with his typewriter. They type a few extra details about Ruby into the typewriter, and she suddenly begins speaking fluent French, without missing a beat.
After quickly coming to terms that he’s broken every law of physics and biology, Calvin happily accepts that he’s now dating his dream woman. He swears to never write another word about her and to just enjoy his new life. We experience bits and pieces of their relationship over the next several months, where Calvin appears as the happier of the two in the relationship. Eventually, Calvin is faced with the challenge of being in an actual relationship and has to deal with whether or not he can correct the imperfections by adding more words to Ruby’s story.
I really enjoyed this movie. The acting was terrific by both Kazan and Dano, a couple in real life. It also helps that Kazan wrote the screenplay, which was a very unique take on the traditional “boy meets dream girl” romantic comedy storyline. The fact that they never explained how Ruby came to be didn’t bother me at all. The movie doesn’t really drag either which should please even the most reluctant rom-com fan. The soundtrack is your typical indie score with all of the songs written by Nick Urata from DeVotchKa.
I suggest picking this one up for a date night. The storyline is interesting, the acting is great, and it’s not overly sappy. Plus, there’s a great Antonio Banderas cameo, which could be reason enough for some people to watch it. Check it out!