Ever been irritated by the quirky-cute love interests in indie films? Those dream girls who wear purple tights and exist for no earthly reason other than to swoon at the feet of forever adolescent boy-men? If yes, this spiky-sweet romcom might be for you. An update on the myth of Pygmalion – the sculptor who falls in love with
his statue – it’s directed by the husband and wife team behind the indie smash ‘Little Miss Sunshine’.
The script is by 29-year-old actress-playwright Zoe Kazan, who also stars with her real-life beau Paul Dano. He is novelist Cal, who at the age of 19 wrote a novel touched by genius (second only to ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ is the consensus). Ten years later, Cal has writer’s block – cured one morning when he wakes up with an idea. He writes about Ruby Sparks, his dream girl (yes, she wears purple tights). Then, impossibly, Ruby (Kazan) walks into his house. Happy ever after? Not quite. Life is sweet for a while. Ruby is perfect. Of course she is. Cal wrote her. And he can tweak her whenever he wants. Cal’s brother, Harry (Chris Messina), urges him to have some fun, nudge-nudge, with his creation (‘for men everywhere’), and if Ruby had walked into his brother’s life, the film would go a bit ‘American Pie’ right here. But Cal is the bookish type. He just wants to curl up on the sofa with Ruby and a battered copy of Proust.
Trouble is, living-breathing dream girls (unlike the ones in the movies) have ideas and opinions. Social-butterfly Ruby goes out too much for Cal’s liking, so he makes her more needy and dependent. And once he starts tweaking, he can’t stop. There’s plenty of bitter in the bittersweet here, and Kazan’s script is observant about how we try to control relationships – making this a smart, modern movie. And how often can you say that about a romcom?