Male writer of romantic comedies often create their female characters as figures of pure fantasy that would be utterly infuriating in real life. Perhaps this is what inspired indie ingénue Zoe Kazan to write Ruby Sparks, a rom-com that puts a new spin on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Directed by married co-helmers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris of Little Miss Sunshine acclaim, this inventive love story stars Kazan's real-life boyfriend Paul Dano as a young novelist who won fame early but is now floundering in his work and love life. Like a modern-day Pygmalion, he finds a creative solution to both by developing a whimsical character called Ruby Sparks who ultimately comes to life and loves him back. Kazan co-stars as the eponymous muse.

The long-awaited follow-up to Dayton and Faris' Oscar-winning debut feature, Ruby Sparks not only offers a charming premise and dazzling headliners, but also a truly extraordinary supporting cast that blends some stellar up-and-comers like Chris Messina, Deborah Ann Woll, Alia Shawkat and Aasif Mandvi, with a major A-Listers Antonio Banderas and Annette Bening. While not due out until this summer, The Playlist has collected two glimpses of this spirited feature.

The first, from Entertainment Weekly magazine, looks to be an image from the film itself, with Kazan wearing a darling vintage-looking dress that is already inspiring envy.

The second shot, courtesy of THR captures the two on-and-offscreen lovers enjoying an adorable moment between takes with the film's directors behind them. While this may all seem so sweet it could give you a toothache, I anticipate Kazan—whose proved a sharp young actress—has something insightful to say with her first produced screenplay. Plus, Dayton and Faris have shown an uncanny ability to temper sugary sweet material with edgy humor and a hint of thoughtful melancholy. In short, Ruby Sparks has the ingredients to be something smarter and more satisfying than the rom-com genre typically offers.

Ruby Sparks will hit theaters July 25th.

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