Here's the thing: I'm not sure if it's the last 2 movies I've seen Paul Dano in, "Prisoners" and "12 Years a Slave," where he played antagonists in both, but I just can't see him as a leading man. He's more of a featured player, like his assured, mute debut in "Little Miss Sunshine." Here he indulges in Planet Nepotism with his girlfriend/screenwriter/actress Zoe Kazan, who surely saves this movie from becoming "generic indie movie number 5020." Kazan has charisma to boot, but she's given the most interesting role...in fact, the only interesting role, besides Antonio Banderas' brief role as Dano's free spirited stepfather. The quirkiness and cuteness feel forced, but as a writer, I certainly appreciated the wit and message "Sparks" was trying to convey: sometimes writers fall for their own creations. It just didn't reach what it was going for...for me.