Director: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Stars: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina, Elliot Gould, Annette Benning, Antonio Banderas, Steve Coogan, Deborah Ann Woll, Aasif Mandvi
Release date: July 25

Is there such a thing as the perfect woman? Unfortunately, the answer is, “No,” though that recent video of Kate Upton doing the “Cat Daddy” dance in her teeny bikini does have us ready to change our mind. But imagine if the Sports Illustrated cover model hung all over you every waking second of every single day—after a while, it’d grow old. Yes, it really would, because the moment you try to sneak off for a drink with the fellas or just some mundane alone time, she’d be there, crying and begging for more attention. Again, we swear it’d grow old.

That’s part of the lofty concept behind Ruby Sparks, the first movie from directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris since the 2006 indie hit Little Miss Sunshine. Here, the filmmaking duo flip a screenplay written by star, and first-time scribe, Zoe Kazan, who plays a made-up dream girl spawned from a struggling, introverted, and depressed novelist’s (Paul Dano) typewriter.

Named, that’s right, Ruby Sparks, the writer’s latest fictional character somehow appears in real life and, unbeknownst to her, is at his mercy; if he types, “Ruby barks like a dog,” she has to make like a pooch. How Kazan’s impressively funny and thought-provoking script plays with that concept is what gives Ruby Sparks its quirky and unconventionally romantic excellence. It’s a date movie for the thinking man and his equally educated girlfriend.