Lars and the Real Girl
What this film will definitely not fall short of is interpretation. Again with stand out performances coming from both Ryan Gosling and Patricia Clarkson, not to mention the entirely Canadian supporting cast, this is a highly sophisticated comedy that doesn’t stop at just poking fun at the shovel fed genre of romantic comedy, it completely destroys our current state of humanity. The scene where I finally got what this film was trying to do came in the fourth act where Gosling’s character, Lars, is out bowling with a co-worker and three thug looking guys show up to the alley to find out that the lanes are all booked. One of the thug-looking guys recognizes Lars and all three march to his lane. Now if this film were trying to be the drippy drama that I am sure some are going to walk away thinking it was, we would have a predictable turn of events where Lars is bullied and humiliated for the fully public knowledge that he is entirely intoxicated and in love with a sex doll. Instead we have a Big Lebowski meets eighties comedy montage of celebration, including more high-fives in a minute than anyone could do without needing to ice their palms.
With our sense of community being washed down the tubes of cyber space it has become necessary to find individual acceptance and understanding through the vehicle of personifying objects and gadgets. With Lars and the Real Girl we have a completely absurd, almost Ionesco-like, situation where the main character has constructed a delusion and everyone around him plays into it accepting Lars and his plastic girlfriend, to the point where Bianca gets a job, gets her hair done, and starts doing community volunteer work. Where the film turns from utterly stupid to totally brilliant is that it is told as a straight kitchen sink drama, which in turn heightens the need to look deeper into how this movie is trying to make us laugh. With Lars, we are presented with what we are collectively becoming, which is a mass of lonely individuals replacing human contact with plastic loves that we can have total control over, and with the community that Lars lives in, there is a splendid juxtaposition of exactly what were are not, which is caring, nurturing, and ultimately accepting. Here is the key to the comedy. Sadly we end up laughing at our child-like cruelty that we never really leave in the schoolyard. Because the cast does such a wonderful job rooting the absurdity of the film in a realistic style of playing, Lars and the Real Girl seamlessly moves from common drama to high absurdity, leaving the hopefuls pleased and the cynics laughing, which is quietly by ourselves.
The film makes a fascinating statement by presenting a hyperbolic antithesis of what humanity just isn’t. Ultimately a hilarious film that rises high above the Napoleon-Dynamite-Little-Miss-Sunshine fad that has been trying to make the same statement with little success.