Friday, 19 October 2012

Ruby Sparks, dir. Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris, wr. Zoe Kazan, st. Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan, Elliott Gould, Chris Messina

Grand-daughter of the great Elia, Zoe Kazan has written an inoffensive, sporadically charming, fleetingly perceptive story about Calvin Weir-Fields (Dano) a writer facing Difficult Second Album syndrome, who finds a second wind (and a second chance at love) with the very real corporeal arrival of his fictional muse. That Ruby Sparks or 500 Days of Summer 2: Five Hundreder doesn't really do anything that Spike Jonze's Adaptation or Marc Forster's Stranger Than Fiction hasn't already done with more wit and conviction isn't to detract from some genuinely amusing sequences, particularly between Calvin and his brother Harry (Messina), and some joyfully wry couplets of dialogue. But the main problem with the film doesn't stem from Kazan, who ably channels her inner Zooey, but with Dano, who observes Calvin's narcissism too acutely to allow any of his endearing neuroses to come through. There's a sense, around the film's second act, when it seems the movie might spiral away from the cleverly-orchestrated celebrity-lineage love-in it's unashamedly promoting itself to be (Dano and Kazan are an off-screen couple and serve as Executive Producers), but the simplicity and wonder of overlaying the naturalistic and fantastical as an explanation for Ruby's sudden appearance from the typewriter ink, dissolves as the final part of the film wraps up in all the ways you hope it wouldn't.