"Bianca's in town for a reason"
Written by: Nancy Oliver
Directed by: Craig Gillespie
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Paul Schneider, Emily Mortimer
My rating: 7/10
What happens when you cross the writer of televisions "Six Feet Under" and the director of last years funniest guilty pleasure "Mr Woodcock"? You get a warm-hearted, absurdly high concept comedy with a dark centre but also a lot of love. For many reasons "Lars and the Real Girl" is a strange film. For the fact that it makes a movie about a man and his sex doll, and immediately reveals that he has no intention of using it for sex. For the mixed bag of talent involved in the project and for the fact that, given the subject matter, all sex jokes are made in the first 20 minutes.
The story follows 27 year old lovable loner, Lars, who suddenly springs on his family that he met a girl on the internet and they are in love and can she stay with them for a while. His family are ecstatic until they realise she is a rubber sex doll. They soon realise that he is suffering a delusion and they, and the whole town, agree to go along with it so he can work through the stuff thats causing the problems in his head.
This is where you must suspend your disbelief a little; but by that point you've fallen in love with Lars as much as the town have and you can see why they are so willing to help this gentle, if insane man.
It is not a perfect film and it gets really nonsensical towards the end unfortunately, but it never offends, it always has its heart in the right place. I get the feeling that the writers traded quality for tearjerking in the final act, which is a pity because it doesn't do Lars's character justice. There's also the problem of the love interest (the human one) who doesn't have any actual character and was a little too convenient for my liking.
Despite its flaws, I found it impossible to dislike this film. It was charming, sweet and there were wonderful performances from all concerned. Ryan Gosling was fantastic as Lars and Emily Mortimer and Paul Schneider who played his brother and sister-in-law were equally charming and believable.
Check it out, at the very least it is an entertaining comedy, and at best its a warm parable about love and tolerance.
- Charlene Lydon 02/06/08