Ryan Gosling is all about damaged characters. From his Jew-hating Jew in The Believer to his loner carpenter in The Notebook to his cracked-out teacher in Half Nelson, he’s full of surprises. But his latest turn, as a delusional office drone that has a relationship with a blown-up sex doll, is a stretch even for him.
Emotionally scarred by his father, Lars Lindstorm can barely speak; he’s a basket case of halted comments and exaggerated facial tics. One day, a huge package arrives at his house: It’s Bianca, a plastic princess with whom he immediately falls in love. Following the advice of Lars’ doctor (played comfortingly by Patricia Clarkson), the town bands together in support of Lars and treats Bianca as an actual member of the community.
Humor is mined from the ridiculous plot, with Emily Mortimer, as Lars’ concerned sister-in-law, delivering the best of the subtle one-liners. Somewhere in this trifle of a movie there’s a message about kindness and compassion, as opposed to the kind of meanness that could have snuffed out Lars’ girlfriend with a simple pinprick.
Even funnier are Lars’ fellow office geeks, one of whom, Margo (Kelli Garner), he’s actually attracted to. Rather than cheat on Bianca, Lars conceives a solution that finally sets him on the path to human interaction and resolves the sticky little matter of an inanimate love affair.