Ruby Sparks REVIEW

Ruby Sparks DVD review: She’s just his type

Sadly, he couldn’t write himself some freshly ironed trousers.


Release Date: 11 February 2013
2012 | 15 | 104 minutes | £19.99 (DVD)/£27.99 (Blu-ray)
Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Cast: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan

You often hear critics praising male writers for creating good female characters. For a change, then, let’s hear it for Ruby Sparks scripter (and star) Zoe Kazan for writing about a man’s attempt to write a perfect woman… and proving uncomfortably spot-on in the ways of the male psyche.

Don’t worry. The film isn’t a feminist rant. Kazan has wisely chosen to make her protagonist a wimpy liberal rather than a male chauvinist, and the result is far more interesting.

Calvin (Paul Dano) is a writer who accidentally types his ideal girlfriend into existence. Because he’s also written her a past, she has no idea that she’s a fiction. Better yet (for him), he can rewrite her – to speak in French, or to be perpetually happy with him.

Directed by the team behind the equally quirky-but-heartwarming Little Miss Sunshine, it’s never quite the biting satire you may expect, aiming rather for a Michel Gondry vibe. It does eventually – and shockingly – go dark, but Calvin never becomes a mere “issues” punchbag.

Perhaps it could have explored the disturbing possibilities its central concept further, but with a film as inventive, well-acted and exquisitely directed as this, it seems churlish to complain about what it doesn’t do, rather than savour what it does.

Extras:

A series of very brief featurettes (none over five minutes long) on the cast, shooting in LA, working with your partner and so on, all beefed-up with clips from the film, so there’s barely 10 minutes of actual new material.

Dave Golder twitter.com/DaveGolder

For an alternate perspective, read our Ruby Sparks review from the theatrical release.
See where Ruby Sparks came in our list of the Top 25 SF And Fantasy Films Of 2012.

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