Sunday, November 04, 2007

Review: Lars and the Real Girl

When making my film festival picks this year, I remember skimming by a movie about a guy who buys an anatomically correct sex doll. I thumbed to the next page without much thought, figuring it was probably either a farcical comedy or -- well, what would my mother think when she read the review? Anyway, in various conversations with fellow festival goers in line (uh, I mean "queueing"), I heard that it was actually quite good. So a couple friends and I (who also claim not to frequent sex doll films) headed down to the local art theatre for a viewing.

Lars and the Real Girl was directed by Craig Gillespie, who unfortunately also has the juvenile comedy flick Mr. Woodcock to his credit. Ryan Gosling plays the title character. He's one of those actors who sounds and looks vaguely familiar, but you just can't place him. He's been a busy guy, and to name a couple credits, he played the title roles in The United States of Leland and the TV show "Young Hercules".

Kudos to Gosling for his portrayal as the deluded Lars, who is exactly the opposite of a "people person". He lives in the garage of his boyhood home, a safe distance from his brother and sister-in-law who now occupy the home. A porno-surfing coworker turns him on to a web site featuring lifelike sex dolls, and voila! Lars has a girlfriend, Bianca.

The small northern town pulls together to try to help Lars through his delusion. I won't go into it, but a lot of the good laughs come from interaction with the town folk.

The movie is occasionally sweet, good for laughs here and there, and the characters are good for the most part, but something seemed lacking to me. I think this is one of those movies that seems better in a crowded theatre, so I'm sure the festival crowd though it was great. Me, I thought it was good. My IMDB rating: 7/10.