Lars and the Real Girl

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Ryan Gosling (right) should be careful with that knife. He might pop his girlfriend.

This story is about a guy named Lars Lindstrom. He’s played by Ryan Gosling, who the women fell in love with in The Notebook. For me, it took Half Nelson.

He lives in a small Midwestern town behind his brother (Paul Schneider) and sister-in-law (the always great Emily Mortimer). He’s lonely, to the point of needing to see a shrink. It’s never really made clear why. There’s a co-worker at his office job that kind of digs him. He doesn’t have that disorder where he’s afraid to leave the house. None of it makes any sense.

One day Lars introduces everybody to Bianca, his new live-in girlfriend. Don’t think Bianca Jagger. This Bianca is a “RealGirl.” That’s a custom-ordered life-size doll. And unlike Barbie, this one is anatomically correct. At this point, I get even more confused by his character. It would be one thing if his brother noticed the doll at his house and asked about it. He could go on one of those female bashing dialogues where he talks about how he hates women, all the closet space they use, the money you waste on dates, or whatever. Nope. None of that. Lars just decides to bring her out everywhere and introduce her to people. He treats her as if she’s a real person. They go shopping, go to church, he even brings her to dinner (keep her away from the candles or she’ll end up flying around the room). What I don’t get is that the whole town (he grew up there) treats her as if she’s real. They’re all so supportive of this new love in his life. Now, I’m not a psychiatrist (although I play one on the internet)…is this the advice a shrink would give? If your young child said they were afraid of boogiemen in the closet, would you each night pretend there is one living there? When you tuck the tyke in at night, you could say “And goodnight to you, ghosts and creatures in the closet.”

Maybe the town feels like this is the same situation as a sleepwalker. You’re not supposed to wake them, and maybe you can’t burst his bubble and ask why she’s a doll. [insert your own bursting joke about her here].

At least she doesn’t complain when he steps on her toes when they go dancing. I’m still not sure I get the argument he had with her, either. Perhaps she was ticked off that he was looking at lingerie mannequins at Victoria Secret.

At that point, can’t we just strap a straight jacket on him and put him away? Don’t get me wrong, Bianca is kind of sexy. Especially with that come hither mouth of hers, but just what is the point of all this in a movie? If it were a Saturday Night Live sketch, okay. Heck, they should’ve gone the comedy route with this movie, and created a Weekend at Bernie’s vibe. This was supposed to be a serious, heartfelt film. Yet I have no sympathy for anybody in the movie. Shame on them for wasting a good cast that also included Patricia Clarkson. She plays the family physician, who encourages the idea that everyone treat her as if she’s a real person. At one point she even gives her an examination (no need to tell her to say “ahh” as she kind of always is).

This movie is by first time screenwriter Nancy Olive. I hope her next script doesn’t start with such a flawed premise, but hey – it’s already getting a few early good reviews. That’s almost as disturbing as sitting through an hour and a half of this garbage…the fact that critics seem to flock to this indie garbage.

This movie gets a D, and that’s only because the cast is so good. It seems like this should’ve been an exercise in an acting class instead of a movie.

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