“Juno” will likely walk off with the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay—it’s smart, quirky, and charming, accolades you think would be hard to come by when your story centers on an unwed teen. Yet, it works. But I would lobby strongly for “Lars and the Real Girl,” which you might know by its more mainstream description: the movie about the guy and the blow-up doll.
I tend to avoid traditional comedies, which rely on slapstick and lazy dialogue, so at first I thought the premise sounded farcical, but I was wooed by the preview. The cast didn’t hurt either (Ryan Gosling, Patricia Clarkson, Emily Mortimer) . Turns out, it’s not a film about a sleazy guy who gets his kicks from a mail-order girlfriend, but a story of a fragile soul who sincerely thinks “Bianca” is his girlfriend. After the stares and disbelief dissipate, the townspeople rally around Lars by embracing Bianca in an act of solidarity that makes you want to move to the neighborhood.
I laughed and would have cliché-cried too had I not been on a date when I saw this movie in the theater this fall. My companion, however, turned out to be the kind of sleazy guy who probably has a closet full of blow-up dolls. And I still loved the movie.