R (strong language including sexual references and drug use); 100 min.
It's one thing to introduce an original and interesting idea, but it's quite another to take that idea and expand it, to tap its hidden meanings and turn it into something that's more than a gimmick but a satisfying full-length movie. That's what we get with Ruby Sparks.
Paul Dano plays a young novelist who was once a boy wonder -- he wrote a great work when he was still in his teens, and now it's 10 years later, and he still hasn't delivered his second novel. One day the author starts imagining his own ideal companion, and when he starts writing about her, the pages come easily. And then just as her whole history is filled in, he comes home to find her in his kitchen. Ruby (Zoe Kazan) has come to life as his live-in lover.
Ruby Sparks becomes the story of what happens when a man meets his fantasy. Dano is ideally suited to play the introspective author, floating through life in a zone between his own imagination and daily reality, and between his desires for peace and for connection. Kazan might not be everybody's dream girl, but she is perfectly right for him -- cute, smart and sensitive, the fantasy of a man who is genuinely on to himself and his own needs.
Exclusive: Magnolia, Dallas
-- Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle