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“Lars and the Real Girl” - {Blu-ray}
Taylor Carlson
Studio: 20th Century Fox/MGM
Genre: Comedy
April 5, 2011
Special Features: Deleted scene, Real Leading Lady featurette, Real Story featurette

Now released on Blu-ray is Lars and the Real Girl directed by Craig Gillespie, and stars Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider, Kelli Garner, and Patricia Clarkson. ***

Lars is a small-town guy who suffers from numerous social issues. He has always wanted love, but never been able to get it before due to his problems. But much to everyone's shock, he announces that he has fallen for someone he met on the Internet - which ends up being nothing more than a sex doll. But he and the doll have a “true love” relationship and not a sexual one. His family convinces the town to go along with the charade, wanting to avoid their already-awkward family member any more embarrassment. ***

This is one of the strangest movies that came out last year, but perhaps more shocking is the fact that it's actually one of the best! Rather than playing this material in a raunchy way for cheap laughs, the screenplay is treated as genuine, and there are plenty of moments where you truly feel for the title character, despite his laughable situation. There are some minor shortcomings here, the lack of conflict being a key one. But that's a minor flaw in the long run. ***

Ryan Gosling is terrific at playing Lars, the film's leading man. He's a skilled actor, and beautifully brings this socially awkward middle-aged guy to life. From the movie's infancy right up to its final moments, following all of the so-called romance he has experienced throughout the movie from his inanimate partner, he makes this movie all his own. The sporting cast also fares well, including such faces as Paul Schneider and Emily Mortimer. ***

The direction of the film is another strength. Craig Gillespie keeps things moving along smoothly all the while, excellently fusing elements of romance and comedy. There are plenty of moments where the movie is laugh-out-loud comical, but this doesn't come at the expense of, believe it or not, a heartfelt love story. Despite the ridiculous premise, the film never feels raunchy or over-the-top. The whole experience is directed and put together better than you would think. ***

Despite some minor (but ultimately negligible) flaws, Lars and the Real Girl simply doesn't fail to please. It's one of the most eccentric love stories to hit the big screen in recent years - but what's even more shocking is that it's one of the most entertaining. If you missed this one during its theatrical run, it's worth a rental. ---

Image And Sound:

As a recent DVD release,and now the Blu-Ray release features a great transfer of picture quality. There are no serious issues with the picture, aside from the occasional bit of grain in a few shots. Audio has no major issues either, all of the dialogue is loud, clear, and completely audible. ---

Special Features:

* * The Real Story of Lars and the Real Girl Featurette * * A Real Leading Lady Featurette * * Deleted Scene * * Theatrical Trailer

Final Words:

Lars and the Real Girl is a surprisingly good film - definitely one you shouldn't judge by its premise. If you're into romantic comedies but you're sick of the same old stuff, year after year, Lars and the Real Girl is just the departure from the ordinary that you need. Strongly recommended!


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