Ruby Sparks

Director: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Year Released: 2012
Rating: 2.0

A neurotic writer (Paul Dano) - who received praise for his first novel - is stuck on how to work on his follow-up, so he 'creates' a character "Ruby Sparks" (Zoe Kazan) who just so happens to come to life and be under his control. Conceptually it's fabulous - about man's desire to 'control' the women in his life and to circumvent female unpredictability - but flubs the execution, as the Ruby character keeps going off the rails and Dano's writer (on a typewriter ... ?) keeps trying to 'correct' her: in a final scene in which he makes Ruby perform all sorts of tricks it comes across as an improv stunt than a dramatic conclusion to their "relationship." It's as if Kazan - who basically wrote the movie for herself and slotted herself into the role usually designed for Zooey Deschanel - watched the Will Ferrell vehicle Stranger than Fiction, The Purple Rose of Cairo and (500) Days of Summer and threw them together, only forgetting the part where the audience can view "Ruby" as an actual human being instead of a fantasy figure, and that Dano's character is barely likeable.