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Movie Review: Lars and the Real Girl

Alternate Title: It Takes a Village

Story: Once upon a time in a land far north of here a delusional, socially backward young man orders an anatomically correct, life sized doll to be his girlfriend. He introduces her to his family, co-workers and town as if she were real.

Kudos to director Craig Gillespie who manages to direct this film in a way that allows you to dismiss your reality based cynicism and go with this sweet story. With a sensitive screenplay by Nancy Oliver (who also wrote 7 episodes of Six Feet Under) we easily empathize with this young man, his pain and his delusions.

In lesser hands this would have been an Adam Sandler type of teenage tittering film, filled with moronic sex jokes, but it is handled in a serious, sensitive manner and I bought it lock stock and plastic doll.

There are certainly some laughs, it is high on the quirky scale and could have been shortened by about 15 minutes but all in all, if you like films that are not run of the mill and like to watch good acting, give this Indie a chance.

Acting: Ryan Gosling is one heck of an actor. He is making interesting choices in what will be a long career. Patricia Clarkson, the Indie Queen, is always good and does outstanding work as the therapist. Emily Mortimer is terrific as the caring sister-in-law and Paul Schneider is great as the brother. Kelli Garner and the human wanna-be girlfriend is nervously cute. And special mention to Bianca, whose range of acting is limited, but she was fabulous as the plastic doll.

Predilection: I like quirky films and I like Ryan Gosling.

Critters: Surprisingly none in this town of warm hearted people.

Food: Lots of home cooked meals including all aspects of the food pyramid.

Sex Spectrum: No sex at all - not even with an anatomically correct doll.

Opening Titles: Graphically pleasing opening that gives us a sense of time and place.

Visual Art: This town up north desperately needs a decorator.

Theater Audience: A few people and us. I think my friend snoozed for a minute or two.

Weather: It is cold, cold, cold.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 4

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: It needed editing. It was too long.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine for this film. For some of Ryan Gosling's other work you could rent: Half Nelson, The Notebook, The United States of Leland and The Believer.

Length: A little under two hours