Ruby Sparks (Review)

Ruby Sparks

Written by Zoe Kazan
Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

Ruby Sparks is Manic Pixie Dream Girl meta as fuck. If you aren’t familiar with the term “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”, then you probably don’t read a lot of reviews written by indie writers who pretend they’re the only people who watch bad cinema. Which is good, your life is measurably better! But as a crash course, these Manic Pixie Dream Girls are chicks from indie films who who up and are all perky and adorkable and inspiring, oddly attracted to the bland and uptight male protagonist for reasons unknown, and then leaves by the end of the film for greener pastures, leaving the bland male slightly less bland and uptight. Manic Pixie Dream Girls run wild with their weirdo skirts and dresses (always paired with bright tights of mismatched colors), wild hair and giant blue/green eyes. Ruby Sparks asks the questions “What if a writer was able to create a Manic Pixie Dream Girl wholesale? And she’d do whatever he told her to?”

Stories of creating the perfect woman have been around since the earliest days. Most of those tales have the not so nice undercurrent that the woman’s ability to decide her fate does not exist. Heck, even in many Manic Pixie Dream Girl films, the girl has to be the source of inspiration and change for the hero. That’s her role, and maybe when the whole thing is over she’ll get to be happy, but they’re specifically made not to be happy unless they are fluttering from place to place like a butterfly.

Zoe Kazan not only looks the MPDG part, she has one of the required names, and she even wrote the script. But Zoe Kazan isn’t a MPDG, she’s a real person, a human being with hopes and dreams and drives and freedom. The exact things Ruby strives for, Zoe Kazan becomes the enemy and destroys it from within, by pointing out the absurdity as the fantasy woman is both torn down and built into a real person. It seems natural that Ruby Sparks was written by a woman, such as the fact that it deals with real relationship issues while only barely touching all the sick weirdo perv stuff Calvin could be making Ruby do.

Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) – A brillaint writer, you probably have heard of him and read his book. But ten years later, Calvin has yet to produce another novel and has a hard time writing anything. Until he dreams about a girl…
Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan) – Just your average girl who appeared out of thin air when Calvin wrote about her. Makes me want to dig up my childhood stories about fried chicken invading the world to see if I can make it happen.
Scotty (A dog whose name I did not catch) – Scotty is a dog who needs to use the potty. Often. And he pees like a girl and is afraid of strangers. The dogs flaws make Calvin even more self-conscious.

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Around the World in 80 Days (Review)

Around the World in 80 Days

Jackie Chan as Passepartout/Lau Xing
Steve Coogan as Phileas Fogg
Cecile De France as Monique La Roche
Karen Mok as General Fang
Arnold Schwarzenegger Around the World in 80 days
Jackie Chan, Jules Verne, 80 days, and 80 cameos, how could it lose? Apparently very very badly. Even the lovely Karen Mok cannot save this film. The worst part is, this could have been so great. All the pieces and potential is there, is just fails to materialize. This film is akin to working in chemistry lab, carefully adding every component to your reaction, then sitting in disappointment as it fails to do anything at all.

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