Wednesday, July 25, 2012

If You Want to See Where I Saw Ruby Sparks...

You have to go see Ruby Sparks. As it happens, there is a scene filmed in the auditorium at the Hammer Museum, which was packed to capacity Friday for an advanced screening of the film. I erroneously assumed that my arrival one hour prior to the film would allow for sufficient leeway in addition to a guaranteed front-row seat (to see Paul Dano up close). I naively thought that I would be one of the few weirdo celebrity-stalker types motivated by the promise of seeing Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan and the directors of Little Miss Sunshine. Then the revelation that I live in Los Angeles hit me square in the face.

Though, the majority of those behind whom I was waiting in line were not creepers like me just desiring to be within 100 feet of Mr. Dano. The majority were drawn there by the film and their desire to appreciate a new potential cinematic masterpiece.

The Q&A after the film had me suppressing a few giggles. That is, after the ability to giggle restored itself when my respiratory system came out of arrest brought on by Paul Dano taking the stage. My favorites were the audience members who initiated their question with "I want you to know that I loved that. It was so deep," or something of the sort. My mischievous inner-self wanted some bold individual to say they didn't like it. Because let's be honest, no one is going to critique a movie in front of those that poured their heart and soul into the project. Myself included. Now, however, I am no longer in front of them and I therefore plan to critique away.

For those of you who haven't seen the preview yet, the plot focuses around Dano's character, a Los Angeles-based writer named Calvin. He is a washed up author past his prime and still living on profits earned from his novel written years ago. Experiencing major writier's block, Calvin goes to his therapist for help. He leaves the office with a writing assignment which, along with a dream about a girl, launches Calvin into writing a new novel on an antiquated typewriter. One day, to his astonishment, the female protagonist of his tale, Ruby Sparks, manifests herself out of thin air in his apartment, which he attributes to an "overactive imagination".

The rest of the film follows their romance and its ups and downs, often caused by a visit by Calvin to his typewriter in attempts to control Ruby's growing independance. The film is laced with themes, both subltle and otherwise, pertaining to relationships. Despite its best intentions, he story fails to captivate after about the first 30 minutes. Certain scenes seem out of place or lacking in purpose. The film is a completely conventional "indie" film, echoed in the music, the not-so-subtle placement of soy milk on the breakfast table, and the quirky personality of the protagonists who are both, of course, artists.
Ruby Sparks was enjoyable enough, yet more so for me given the circumstances of the showing and the attendance of the main cast and directors.

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