Ruby Sparks also suffers somewhat from a lack of innocence. The story’s fairy-tale quality is undermined by characters who spout variations of the f-word every time something surprises them, and by matter-of-fact discussions of sexual intimacies. The failure of this story about writing to come up with more stimulating, original dialogue is hard to overlook.

“Everything’s been so up and down lately,” an exasperated Ruby says late in the film. “It’s like my internal moral compass is gone.” That’s a nice summary statement of the film as a whole—up and down, with a moral to its story that, while thoughtful, feels more appropriate to a TV-length program rather than a feature film. Ruby Sparks shows some promise for writer and actress Kazan, but it could have used a few more drafts and a bit of beefing up in the story-development stage.

For all its sparks, Ruby never quite catches fire.


  • Language/Profanity: Lord’s name taken in vain; an abundance of foul language, including multiple uses of the “f”-word, discussions about sex and sex acts; “douchiness”; “s-it”; “dam-it”; “slut”; “t-ts”
  • Alcohol/Smoking/Drugs: Drinking; a character says he’s been drinking but hasn’t had any “coke”; Calvin’s mom says the plants she’s growing have “medicinal purposes”; drugs are smoked
  • Sex/Nudity: Kissing; in voiceover, Calvin explains that Ruby was kicked out of school for sleeping with a teacher; a bra and panties appear in Calvin’s drawer; Ruby flings her panties at Calvin; Ruby says she missed Calvin in bed the previous evening; Calvin tells his brother that Ruby enjoys a certain sex act; Calvin is propositioned by a woman who wants to meet with him and have sex; Calvin’s brother says their mom used to paint “porn” featuring people in various sexual positions; a man caresses a woman’s backside; Ruby gets out of the shower (nothing seen) and puts a towel around her, then puts on her night clothes; Calvin and Ruby hold each other in bed; Ruby strips to her underwear
  • Violence/Crime: Reckless driving
  • Religion/Morals: Calvin says his girlfriend left him after his father died; later, when they see each other, she accuses Calvin of having been self-absorbed; Calvin’s mom says part of her home is constructed of blessed materials from the Amish and bricks from a Catholic school; Ruby says she’s lost her internal moral compass; Ruby wonders if she knew Calvin “in another life”

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Publication date: July 25, 2012