Lars and the Real Girl

"OK"

Lars and the Real Girl Review


Lars and the Real Girl is not a comedy, despite the urge to laugh at a man who is romantically infatuated with his life-like sex doll. The title character is a socially maladjusted young man who doesn't speak much and can't stand being touched. But just like anyone else, he gets lonely. When the answer to his prayers arrives in a UPS box, he begins an emotional journey through his delusional relationship. Sure, it sounds like Farrelly brothers fodder, but director Craig Gillespie plays it straight -- for better and for worse.

Once the anatomically-correct doll arrives and Lars introduces it to his brother and his wife, the laughs dissipate as quickly as they arise. It's absurd for sure, Lars parading around a doll as a real person -- cutting up her meat at dinner and tucking her into bed at night -- but there is no over-acting nor subjective shots that would emphasize the ridiculousness. Instead, shaky, hand-held shots amp up the tension when Lars' brother and his wife are arguing in the kitchen over how to handle Lars and his new lover.

We never truly believe "Bianca" as a character (inanimate or otherwise) and, as a result, Lars and the Real Girl never hits the emotional marks it needs to. Perhaps it's the absurdity of the situation, but we are never able to connect with any of the characters. As word of Lars' condition spreads across the small town, the solution is for the population to treat "Bianca" as a real person. It's a story telling misstep, as the film already solidified itself as more drama than comedy.

Instead of connecting with Lars' emotional struggle, his supposedly poignant, sub-conscious confessions to "Bianca," such as telling her that the flowers she gets from a church-goer "aren't real, so they'll last forever," lands with a thud. Yet, the uncomfortable laughs and chuckles when Lars is singing to "Bianca" in the tree house or taking her to the mall points out our reactions to mental illness. We don't understand it, so we find it funny because it would be much too depressing to actually think about a person actually loving a doll.

Unlike Gillespie's and his cast's inability to make us believe in the characters and the doll, the film does call us out on our laughter. At one point, Lars' brother and his wife are giving the doll a bath. The difficult task ends with the doll face down in the water and Lars' brother asks, "Why are we doing this?" "Because it's helping Lars and it's funny," his wife replies. "Is it funny?" he rhetorically questions. It's a moment that could have hit us in the gut, if we could hear it over our own awkward laughter.

Without emotional grounding or biting, ironic subtext to latch onto, the film feels 20 minutes too long. We know that Lars will overcome his delusions and eventually connect with the girl from work, who has been showing interest in him from the first five minutes. Although Lars and the Real Girl never truly succeeds in being a fulfilling drama or gut-bursting comedy, it does at least honestly approach its subject, which is a rare trait in either genre.

But she's a vegetarian!



Lars and the Real Girl

Facts and Figures

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 25th October 2007

Box Office USA: $5.8M

Distributed by: MGM/Sidney Kimmel Entertainment

Production compaines: Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Lars Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Fresh: 109 Rotten: 25

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Craig Gillespie

Starring: as Lars Lindstrom, as Karin, as Gus, as Margo, as Holly, as Dr. Dagmar Berman, R. D. Reid as Reverend Bock, Nancy Beatty as Mrs. Gruner, Doug Lennox as Mr. Hofstedter, Joe Bostick as Mr. Shaw, Liz Gordon as Mrs. Schindler, as Mrs. Petersen

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.