Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 40
  2. Negative: 1 out of 40
  1. Reviewed by: Katie Walsh
    Jul 23, 2012
    91
    Ruby Sparks hits that sweet emotional spot much in the same way "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" does. While you are at once charmed by the whimsy and romance, there's still a gut punch of emotional rawness just waiting to be delivered.
  2. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jul 23, 2012
    91
    Kazan has fun with a silly premise and smartly plays it straight when the occasion calls for it, while keeping the cutesy, fantastical extremes of the material at bay. It's less fairy tale than shrewd exaggeration on the pratfalls of desire.
  3. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Jul 25, 2012
    90
    Ruby Sparks doesn't try to pretend to be more than it is: a sleek, beautifully written and acted romantic comedy that glides down to earth in a gently satisfying soft landing.
  4. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Aug 3, 2012
    88
    Particularly memorable are scenes in which Calvin loses his cool as Ruby holds onto her calm. It all adds up to a movie that's sparklingly entertaining.
  5. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Aug 2, 2012
    88
    It's a good thing not to know where a film is going - we need surprises, we need to be spun around a few times - and Ruby Sparks, which is about a writer and his muse, but then becomes more about the muse and her writer, is happily just such a film.
  6. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jul 24, 2012
    88
    Parts of Ruby Sparks are glowing and gentle. Others are harsh. Still others are wrenching. The transitions are expertly handled, never seeming jarring or inappropriate. If the movie feels like two shorter pieces grafted at the middle, that's an intentional decision. The filmmakers give us something approaching a traditional romantic comedy before deconstructing it.
  7. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Jul 26, 2012
    85
    As a whole, however, Ruby Sparks lands like a punch. It's a smart counter-jab to the many movies out there that put forth the myth that the world is full of quirky angels in ballet flats who are just waiting for some morose protagonist to come along in need of their love.
  8. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jul 25, 2012
    83
    Ruby Sparks is a romantic comedy that takes off from a premise so fanciful it needs every bit of the freshness that Dano brings it.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Oct 12, 2012
    80
    Kazan brings to the role a sweet and dignified vulnerability, keeping rigorously to plausible human behaviour.
  10. Reviewed by: David Hughes
    Oct 8, 2012
    80
    Six years after "Little Miss Sunshine," Dayton and Faris deliver a comedy that sparkles with wit and substance. But from the script to her portrayal of the title character, Ruby Sparks belongs to Zoe Kazan, who joins the likes of Sarah Polley and Brit Marling in the rarified ranks of actress/screenwriter double-threats.
  11. Reviewed by: James Mottram
    Oct 1, 2012
    80
    Smart, literate and romantic, it's this year's (500) Days Of Summer, but with a few more shadows. Like Calvin, you'll find it hard to resist Ms Sparks.
  12. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 2, 2012
    80
    With a performance that is wide-ranging by necessity, Kazan makes Ruby immensely likable (as well as clingy, manic, sad, happy and whatever else Calvin wants her to be).
  13. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Jul 25, 2012
    80
    This smart and sophisticated romp takes surprising directions as it examines the creative process of writing, the delicate balance of relationships, and the mysteries of men and women.
  14. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jul 13, 2012
    80
    A beguiling romantic fantasy about the creative process and its potential to quite literally take on a life of its own, Ruby Sparks performs an imaginative high-wire act with finesse and charm.
  15. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Jul 13, 2012
    80
    There's little doubt that Kazan has written a sly, amusing portrait of male self-absorption and artistic tyranny.
  16. Reviewed by: Kate Taylor
    Aug 2, 2012
    75
    The meta-fiction concept of characters interacting with their creator is hardly original, but it's neatly packaged here by Kazan herself, who wrote the script for this clever little charmer.
  17. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Aug 2, 2012
    75
    If Ruby Sparks doesn't warm you much or form a seamless whole, it's nevertheless got pieces that you can genuinely admire.
  18. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Aug 2, 2012
    75
    Much of the film is pure romantic comedy and a good one. Yet the filmmakers want it to be more.
  19. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Jul 27, 2012
    75
    Ruby Sparks is far from a landmark in the rickety pantheon of romantic comedy, and under the direction of Dayton and Faris it gnaws a little too hard on its magical-realist trickery. But it's great to see them help an emerging young writing talent like Kazan make her mark by by sweeping away male fantasies of pliant girls and replacing them with a desirable, flesh-and-blood woman.
  20. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jul 26, 2012
    75
    The result is something you won't see coming. Don't look for sweet and embraceable. This movie is not afraid to show its claws. Like the spirited teamwork of Kazan and Dano, Ruby Sparks is honest, deep and true.
  21. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jul 25, 2012
    75
    A movie about the power of the imagination really becomes a movie about a certain element of surrender - about the release of power - that is practically a requirement for loving somebody.
  22. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Jul 25, 2012
    75
    The setup is rote, almost insulting, but it's smarter than it looks: Once the pieces are in place, Kazan's script reveals a deeper game.
  23. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jul 25, 2012
    75
    The fictional premise is used cleverly to illuminate the creative process and explore romantic minefields, and the appealing Ruby Sparks has a low-key, polished charm.
  24. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jul 25, 2012
    75
    The movie's intriguing in its fanciful way, and there are times when both Calvin and Ruby seem uncannily like they're undergoing revision at the hands of some uber-writer above them both.
  25. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    Jul 24, 2012
    75
    Succeeds as a satirical fantasy about writerly self-involvement, but it's worth celebrating as a testament to self-made greatness, particularly in regard to the efforts of writer/star Zoe Kazan.
  26. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Jul 25, 2012
    70
    There is a great deal of playfulness between the couple that will touch the romantic in most.
  27. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Jul 26, 2012
    63
    For a movie so bent on skewering illusions, Ruby Sparks ultimately can't entirely let go of its own.
  28. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jul 25, 2012
    63
    The picture, intelligent but mild, has more of a 10-volt hum than a true spark.
  29. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Jul 25, 2012
    60
    It often feels as if the filmmakers expect us to be equally seduced by Ruby's wide-eyed winsomeness. That's a shame, as we can sense the deeper film beneath the surface. Because Ruby remains conceptual, this ambitious project lacks the dimension of the similarly meta-minded Charlie Kaufman projects that apparently inspired it.
  30. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Jul 17, 2012
    60
    Given the way the film consistently relies on the talented actor's left-of-center charms, you end up with a cake-and-eat-it-too critique: You get to acknowledge how one-dimensional the male fantasies of hot nerd-messiah chicks are while basking in exactly the same thing. Nice try.
  31. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Aug 9, 2012
    50
    The best stuff comes early in Ruby Sparks, which was written by Kazan (granddaughter of Elia) and directed by the husband and wife team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine).
  32. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Aug 1, 2012
    50
    Ruby Sparks doesn't. Spark, that is. Oh, the film is sprightly and wholehearted, sweetly in thrall to its bold central conceit, and endearing as a puppy with boundless energy. You want to like it. And you do. It's just that it never, you know, it never sparks.
  33. 50
    It's a great metaphor - but not a great movie. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris direct in a drably naturalistic style, and the script is thin.
  34. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Jul 27, 2012
    50
    If Ruby were more of a person than a character, we might care more for her plight. But like Calvin, Kazan has written herself into a corner that can only lead to embracing the sappy romantic clichés that Ruby Sparks tries half-heartedly to mock.
  35. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jul 26, 2012
    50
    What's good in the film, which was shot superbly by Matthew Libatique, is so good - so exuberant and touching and sweet - that you want the whole thing to be perfect, but Ruby Sparks is a closed system that gradually turns in on itself. There isn't enough of someone else.
  36. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jul 25, 2012
    50
    It's mediocre and half-baked, with flashes of a potential good movie showing through here and there.
  37. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Jul 25, 2012
    50
    Ruby Sparks tries its damnedest to make a picture that seduces moviegoers into accepting it as their best imaginary friend forever. But the sweat shows more than the sparkle.
  38. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Jul 24, 2012
    50
    She (Kazan) also wrote the screenplay, which begs interpretation as a frustrated actress's commentary on the way that even ostensibly serious writers write women - that is, for maximum convenience. Still, the direction, from Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine), is never more than workmanlike.
  39. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Aug 10, 2012
    40
    Has potential to be fun and meaningful, but it's not exactly a novel idea. In fact, it feels like a literary-minded "Lars and the Real Girl," the 2007 dramatic comedy that starred Ryan Gosling as a man who falls in love with a sex doll, and which coasted along on its charm and smarts.
  40. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Jul 24, 2012
    25
    The script is breezy, but neither of the two leads have the heft or charm to carry an entire feature-length film - separately or together.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 76 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 23
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 23
  3. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Aug 10, 2012
    10
    Likely won't receive Oscar attention, but this film deserves it. Kazan's script tears apart the unrealistic male fantasy of the manic pixie dream girl by bringing the cliche to life in an offbeat, yet dark, comedy with interesting messages about the nature of adult relationships. There may not be a better script in all of 2012. Full Review »
  2. Nov 3, 2012
    7
    I loved Little Miss Sunshine thinking this movie should be good since it's from the same director and I was right! This movie is superbly acted, with a great cast and fun storyline. Not the greatest film ever but it was pretty good. Full Review »
  3. Oct 26, 2012
    7
    This is a weird movie. It challenges perceptions and it really leaves you wondering if its all is really happening, and as it turns out, the movie doesn't even handle you the answers. Part of it being so great though, aside from the great acting, is its message. Everyone at some point has dreamed and conceived their perfect couple, in this case the perfect girlfriend, but the thing is, that their really isn't. There is no such thing as a perfect human being. The perfect human being is a creation of the imagination, a depended of our mind, one that because of that doesn't really love you. That is this movie in a nutshell, but it is how it plays with that concept that ultimately as weird as it undoubtedly is, manages to bizarrely stick in your mind for a long while. That at least, is what the movie left on me. Full Review »