'Cuz Church Groups Love Sex Doll Movies

I can see why people may be turned off by Lars and the Real Girl's sick joke of a premise: a lonely man falls in love with a sex doll, and his family and neighbors rally around him and enable his psychosis by treating the doll as real as they possibly can. The movie is played for laughs and asks you to sympathize with the pop psychology of Lars's condition.

I did indeed laugh, and I did feel for this sad sack and wished for his well-being, whether it was with or without his sex doll named Bianca, whom he never actually has sex with. The "purity" of their "relationship" is striking, and perhaps that's why the studio that put out the movie has been able to market it to church groups. Church groups! The film's themes of community and loving thy neighbor seem to speak to the faithful. Broad appeal stories sure come in strange (and inflatable) packages these days.

Ryan Gosling, one of my favorite actors of all time, gives a performance that is at times absurdly funny and deeply sad. And while it's hard to buy the film's easy explanations for his character and his illness, Gosling is extremely persuasive as Lars, and, in his hands, everything seems to make sense even when it doesn't.

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