Monday, October 22, 2007

Lars the Serial Killer?

Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood-Elsewhere just posted this review by Huffington Post contributor Nick Antosca of the offbeat romantic comedy Lars and the Real Girl.

In his opinion, Lars and the Real Girl is the second film in a sub-genre he refers to as the "Endearing Potential Serial Killer Comedy," in which the other entry is The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

He goes on to say:
I laughed about one and a half times when I watched [that film]... the jokes seemed lame and forced and the writing was amateurish, but the big problem was that Steve Carell's character just seemed so fucking creepy. That weird, strained
stare...that rabbity way of speaking... those little dolls all over his room. I had the distinct feeling that if he got pushed just far enough, he'd
snap and put someone in a crawlspace.

Same with Ryan Gosling's moustachioed, vaguely greasy lead character in Lars and the Real Girl. "So Lars is so uncomfortable with human contact that he buys a life-size sex doll made of silicon and weighing as much as a real human to be his girlfriend? Okay. And he brings it to dinner and props it up at the table and calmly talks to it as if it's talking back, to the alarm of the other dinner guests? Okay. And everyone in the small town decides to pretend that the doll is a real person, because they love Lars so much and humoring his delusion is therapeutic?

"The movie treats Lars if he's just a little shy, but the hilarious thing is that he's clearly insane and dangerous. If you're unhinged enough to believe that a mannequin is actually a human, then you're probably unhinged enough to convince yourself that a human is actually a mannequin. And then what would be the problem with, say, chopping its head off?

Lars is "the more extreme version of the suspension-of-disbelief problem, already written about pretty much everywhere, that plagues a lot of recent comedies," Antosca writes. "Catherine Keener and Carell in The 40 Year Old Virgin? Dimly plausible...but a stretch. Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up? Good movie, but no way. Emma Stone and the obese, sociopathic Jonah Hill character in Superbad? Never.

"Judd Apatow...please, no more."

Wells says that Antosca is on to something. I think it shows a severe lack of imagination. Nobody ever said the movie was supposed to be realistic. Did he have trouble suspending his disbelief in The Lord of the Rings too? There isn't really any such thing as elves, you know.

Antosca isn't just a little off-base about The 40-Year-Old Virgin. He's dead wrong. Opinion is one thing, but liking it or not liking it isn't the issue here. Anyone who watched that movie and thought that "the jokes seemed lame and forced and the writing was amateurish" clearly wasn't paying attention.

And I've heard about enough complaints about Katherine Heigl's relationship with Seth Rogen in Knocked Up being unbelievable because Rogen isn't attractive enough for her. You can never explain love, and I see plenty of attractive women walking around with unattractive men and vice versa. I don't know what idealistic fantasy world critics of the Heigl/Rogen relationship in Knocked Up are living in, but these things do happen. Wake up and smell the real world.

Besides that, these are movies. Realism is not always essential for a good movie. It never cease to amaze me that people fail to realize this.

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