In this comedy, Lars Lindstrom is an awkwardly shy young man in a small northern town who finally brings home the girl of his dreams to his brother and sister-in-law's home. The only problem is that she's not real - she's a sex doll Lars ordered off the Internet. But sex is not what Lars has in mind, but rather a deep, meaningful relationship. His sister-in-law is worried for him, his brother thinks he's nuts, but eventually the entire town goes along with his delusion in support of this sweet natured boy that they've always loved.Written by
A touching story... for at least a little while...
Lars (Gosling) is an introvert. He can't connect with other people, unable to make meaningful relationships. After being shown a website for a sex doll, he orders one and kicks off a relationship. The doll can't make him feel uncomfortable and only thinks whatever he wants it to think. The film follows Lars' relationship with his doll and how those around him deal with the situation and eventually help him out of his shell.
Lars and the Real Girl is one of those pseudo-indie movies that get churned out every year for no other reason than Oscar buzz. That stamp is all over Lars and the Real Girl... From Ryan Gosling doing his own twist on a Forest Gump type character to a script that is trying to rip open your chest so it can tug at your heartstrings.
I know that opening sounds a bit condescending and it's probably not totally fair. Lars and the Real Girl does have a lot going for it. In general all of the performances are excellent. Ryan Gosling does a great job with the title role, even if his performance strays into little more than Gump-like mannerisms in many places. Paul Schneider and Emily Schneider are wonderful as the co-leads who must deal most intimately with Lars relationship "issues". The script starts off wonderfully, laying out the premise and introducing a lead character that you can both readily identify with and yet still find peculiar. There is a very heartwarming, if maybe slightly hard to swallow, aspect to how the townspeople all pitch in and do their part to help Lars. This really is a fairly typical "feel good" movie that's been kicked around and painted an off-color of gray in an attempt to gain some "indie cred".
The problems crop up after about 40 minutes of screen time. By then, the script has laid all it's cards on the table. The conclusion is never in question... and there are no twists or revelations to be found. It's just a matter of lumbering along for the next hour while the film hits all the required landmarks before delivering us to the final destination. We are asked to continue paying attention to a character, for scene after scene, that everybody has already completely solved by the midway point of the film. While Gosling is generally excellent in the lead role, the character he is playing just isn't interesting enough to carry the load for so long. Ultimately, the movie buckles under it's own weight well before the final credits roll.
This could have been an excellent short film, but there just wasn't enough script here to justify the feature length running time. I still enjoyed things for the most part... helped primarily by the excellent performances from the cast.
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