Ruby Sparks (2012)

Ruby Sparks is a creepy, crappy movie about an artist who literally creates his own reality. By my reckoning, this theme has worked on film exactly twice: Chuck Jones’ 1953 short Duck Amuck, and Charlie Kaufman’s 2002 script for Adaptation. (Kaufman also nailed it with a less literal, more lyrical treatment in his 2008 film Synecdoche, New York.) Why, oh why does this film exist? To begin with, Zoe Kazan thought it would be neat to write something to star in with her boyfriend, Paul Dano. Two out of those three pieces are a mistake, and that doesn’t complete the list. The direction is limp, the cinematography is drab and Annette Bening is woefully misused as a hippie mom. I wanted something about the magic of writing, or the magic of love; even something about the transformative power of art, like The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985). (I’m pretty sure the author thought she was getting at least some of that in her screenplay.) Spare yourself an unpleasant evening and see anything else I mentioned instead of this; Ruby Sparks is just grim, grimy medicine.