Lars and the Real Girl Craig Gillespie

Lars and the Real Girl Craig Gillespie
Lars and the Real Girl is a soft-spoken, quirky comedy that manages to be funny without poking fun. Despite some questionable production values and a run-time that seems to drag in the last 20 minutes, this film manages to stretch one simple joke into an entertaining full-length feature.

Lars is a shy, introverted guy whose social anxieties have secluded him from friends and family. When his sister-in-law grows concerned about Lars’s increasingly reclusive nature, he begins to construct an elaborate fantasy in order to deal with his problems. Soon, Lars is travelling everywhere with his "girlfriend,” a life-sized, fully articulated "love doll” named Bianca. The whole town bands together to help Lars through his troubles, drawing him out of his self-imposed isolation and teaching him a little about friendship in the process.

Though it may seem like a dumb premise, Lars and the Real Girl handles its subject matter with gentle humour and sensitivity that’s elevated by Nancy Oliver’s charming script. Ryan Gosling (The Notebook, Half Nelson) is outstanding as Lars, portraying the sweet yet damaged man with a remarkable compassion that’s perfectly endearing. Paul Schneider is exceptional as Lars’s put upon brother, playing the perfect comedic foil to Gosling’s quirkiness, and generating many laughs with his subtle, uncomfortable body language.

Lars and the Real Girl makes a great date movie if you can get past its low-budget feel. If you don’t manage to get to a theatre for this one, make sure to watch out for it on DVD, because it would be a shame if this sweet natured comedy slipped under the radar. (MGM)