Win tickets to see Ruby Sparks early and for free
Ruby Sparks isn’t actually a meta-movie, but to longtime A.V. Club readers in particular, it may feel like one, given the way it explores, reflects on, and rejects the Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype. Paul Dano stars as a typical example of the wounded indie hero from films like Elizabethtown and Garden State: He’s a glum but soulful guy who’s lost his joy in life, but finds it again in the form of a bouncy, effervescent young woman (Zoe Kazan, who also scripted) who brings light and energy back into his life. 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.