Painful to Watch Ryan Gosling in this Smarmy Little Number
How painful to watch Ryan Gosling, one of the most elastic actors of his generation, smirk and gawp and grimace his way through Craig Gillespie's smarmy little number about a pudgy Midwestern office drudge so terrified of human contact that the only, um, person he can bond with is a mail-order Brazilian sex doll. Lurking within the high concept is a Triggering Trauma so wasting (and banal) that it takes not only loving relatives (Paul Schneider and Emily Mortimer) but a whole village of empathic Scandinavian stoics to sort him out, steered by a therapist played by Patricia Clarkson, giving her dry best shot to hoary old bromides like "It's not a mental illness, it's a form of communication." In fact, as Six Feet Under writer Nancy Oliver ought to know, barking mad might have made a movie. Instead, Lars and the Real Girl wobbles in a slow, toneless no-man's-land between mawkish and schmaltzy while trafficking shamelessly in heartland stereotypy.
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Kon Ichikawa’s Masterpiece ‘An Actor’s Revenge’ Returns, Restored, for One Night Only
- ‘Mi America’ Examines Hate Crimes and the Immigrant Experience — Just Not All That Well
- Lush and Mad, 'Crimson Peak' Just Wasn’t Made for Times Like Ours
- Visit Chernobyl (and a Conspiracy) in Whip-Smart Doc ‘The Russian Woodpecker’