By Joseph Miller
Some movies seem so promising they should be seen in theaters, like Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s “Don Jon.” And popcorn should cost less than five bucks. Whatever. If you can’t afford to go out, there’s always an alternative movie on Netflix.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt pulls an Orson Welles (or maybe a Ben Affleck) with “Don Jon”, tackling writing and directing duties in addition to acting. Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) likes his things. That includes his girls and his porn. Jersey girl Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) is a game-changer. Or she could be. Jon has to decide if this East Coast vixen is worth reassessing what he values most.
On the surface, “Lars and the Real Girl” (2007) is a very different animal, but this quirky comedy is an apt alternative. Lars (Ryan Gosling) has trouble dealing with people. He’s pleasant but a little odd. Lars’ brother Gus (Paul Schneider) and his wife Karin (Emily Mortimer) worry he may have gone off the deep end when Lars introduces them to his new girlfriend, a life-size, anatomically correct sex doll.
Get ready. Your heart is going to melt like butter on a hot plate. These two actor-friendly comedies are both interested in how we perceive and connect with other people. That translates to some warm, fuzzy feelings.
The most wholesome movie you’ll ever see starring a sex doll, “Lars and the Real Girl” is a fun, touching movie that rarely turns sentimental. Gosling disappears in the endearingly uncomfortable Lars’ sweater collection. There isn’t even a residual vapor of the Hollywood hunk. Bolstered by an all-around great supporting cast and a deftly crafted script, “Lars” is a fantastic film with gigantic heart.
“Lars and the Real Girl” is available to stream instantly. If popcorn prices don’t have you turning tail, “Don Jon” opens in theaters nationwide on September 27.
Joseph Miller is a contributing writer.