I was unaware before seeing Ruby Sparks that co-stars Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan are a real-life item. That explains a lot though; underneath some genuinely fine acting exists an undeniable chemistry between the two.
I’m not talking about the traits of a conventional courtship, whatever your definition of that might be, that translate into an obvious onscreen attraction. The believability here happens in their most awkward, conflicted and insecure moments. That’s what also makes the film so funny; given the circumstances of its plot – a woman who literally comes to life from a man’s imagination – it is vastly more relatable than the majority of sappy mainstream ‘dramedy’ these days. The screenplay, written smartly by Kazan and put into motion by co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (the team behind Little Miss Sunshine), radiates an interesting, often subtle range of emotions that finds its footing somewhere between Weird Science and The Taming of the Shrew. Because the framework of the story is as basic as most romantically driven knee-slappers, Kazan’s characters, particularly her own role as the eponymous Ruby, are given ample room to shine.