Lars lives alone in his parents' garage. He works at an office and drives a crappy car. Lars doesn't go out at night. He only goes to the office and back home. Lars attends church regularly. He has friends but he doesn't hang out. He's not agoraphobic. He's just incredibly introverted. While he's a shy guy to the extreme, it gets a little too extreme.
Eventually, Lars' sister-in-law Karen invites him to dinner at his parents' house with her and his brother Gus. Actually, it's more like she tackles him. He's always polite, never rude, but never spends any time with real people. It's not like it would be difficult. Karen and Gus live in Lars and Gus' childhood home. Lars lives in the garage adjacent.
At work and at church, people are always asking Lars when is he going to get a girlfriend. There's one girl in particular named Margo who likes Lars and who wouldn't mind being his girlfriend but Lars avoids her like the plague. It gets to the point where some think he's gay.
One day, Lars shows up at Gus and Karen's door claiming he finally has a girlfriend. Karen, who's been worried about Lars, is excited and happy for him. She invites Lars and his new girlfriend over for dinner. That's when they meet Lars' girl named Bianca. There's only one problem. Bianca is not real. She's not totally imaginary either. Lars doesn't just talk and have conversations with empty space. No! Instead, Lars talks to a life-size doll, a life-size sex doll. His girlfriend, Bianca, yes, is a sex doll, different from a life-size Barbie because yes Bianca is anatomically correct.
Gus and Karen think Lars is completely crazy. They take him to a doctor who diagnoses him as delusional but not dangerous. The doctor advises that Gus and Karen play along and pretend with Lars that Bianca is a real girl, that this doll is somehow not just a female Pinocchio but a living, breathing human being.
The filmmakers, director Craig Gillespie and Oscar-nominated writer Nancy Oliver, then follow this offbeat idea through its logical motions. It's a funny, silly, ridiculous, and practically absurd a film premise, but the filmmakers tackle it so naturally.
Oscar nominated actor Ryan Gosling plays Lars and he sells you on the intricacies and inner psychologies of this character. Lars, despite being a functional adult, devolves into child-like behavior; his interactions with Bianca are almost that of a kid in a toy store. However, there are moments of introspection where you see the kid reverting back into the adult he is or he at least wants to be and you feel those pangs.
LARS AND THE REAL GIRL is a quirky situation. Yet, Gosling plays Lars without missing a beat. Co-stars Emily Mortimer who plays Karen and Paul Schneider who plays Lars's brother Gus as well as Patricia Clarkson who plays the doctor all give equally winsome performances.
Mass hysteria is eventually what happens here in this movie. Lars is able to convince a whole town of people that Bianca is real to the point where they're all talking to her and hanging out with her even when Lars isn't around. It's absolutely hilarious to watch, and usually I wouldn't condone joining in with mass hysteria, but this time I must recommend you all drink Lars' Kool-Aid.
Five Stars out of Five
Rated PG-13 for some sex-related content
Running Time: 1 hr. and 46 mins.