Boy meets girl. So what if she happens to be a sex doll?
One of last year's unheralded gems, "Lars and the Real Girl" is a portrait of the troubled life of a young man (Ryan Gosling) who's painfully lonely until he purchases a life-sized female doll on the Internet and treats her as a living, breathing girlfriend. The novel premise would be better if the reasons for Lars' peculiar personality were explained, but Gosling does an excellent job in portraying the sheltered man-child who only comes out of his shell when he orders his own companion, whom he names Bianca.
What doesn't ring so true is how the quirky townspeople accept Bianca to protect Lars' delusion, especially given the events of the final third. Oscar-nomainted screenwriter Nancy Oliver should know better, but her originality is to be admired.
Great support is provided by Paul Schneider and Emily Mortimer as Lars' understanding brother and sister-in-law, and Kelli Garner as a "real girl" who'd like Lars' affection.