So a guy creates the perfect woman, and what does he do? Fuck things up, of course. Alright, things aren’t entirely that simple, but that’s pretty much the premise of Ruby Sparks. Written by the young and talented Zoe Kazan, who also stars as the title character, Ruby Sparks tells the story of Calvin Weir-Fields (There Will Be Blood’s Paul Dano).
Calvin is a young novelist who has been struggling with writers block since the release of his first, highly successful novel. The thing is, that was 10 years ago. A bit of a sensitive, neurotic, homebody, Calvin takes the advice of his shrink and writes about a woman he’s been seeing in his dreams. When he starts writing about her, Ruby, she shows up in his kitchen one morning—a real, live person—believing she is Calvin’s girlfriend.
At first, Calvin, whose only confidant is his very hilarious brother (played by The Mindy Project’s Chris Messina) is skeptical, but when he decides to believe that Ruby is indeed his real, live girlfriend, he goes so far as to introduce her to his family (which includes Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas as comical hippy-dippy parents). The thing is, Calvin can control Ruby—anything and everything he writes about her seems to come true. What seems like an ideal situation—hello, mind control!—quickly turns nightmarish.
Here’s a romantic (comedy, at times) film involving young people that feels realistic (besides the whole “girl of your dreams comes true” part) and smart. It doesn’t involve crazy stunts or wardrobe changes, or cheesy-ass sex jokes. What it does have is chemistry between Kazan and Dano that feels authentic and believable. So much so that when things turn sour, you actually start to feel sort of bad for both of them.