Review: Lars and the Real Girl

lars-1592.jpgLook, there's no way to say this without sounding elitist and prissy and so unbelievably snobby I can barely look at myself in the mirror, but: This is one of those movies that mixes humor and heartache, and sometimes, you're not supposed to laugh. Granted, the audience I saw this with at the Laemmle on Sunset was (probably) better equipped than most to handle the film's emotional nuances; this thing would tank in silence in, say, Midland, Texas. But I was still frustrated with how some people would bark out these braying little laughs in the middle of certain scenes, like the one later in the film where (don't worry, no spoiler) a doctor who's been subtly psychoanalyzing Lars shoots a look of concern at Lars' brother and sister-in-law. This isn't a funny moment. She isn't saying with her eyes, "Oh, these wacky kids." She's telling them she knows better than they do what Lars is going through right then, that he's tearing his own heart apart. And that's not a punch line. In moments like that, when people laugh and I do all I can to fight back the rush of emotion that pours over me when a film really hooks me, I feel somehow smarter than everyone else in the room, like I was able to hold my breath to dive long enough or soar high enough to see something they don't, and will never. I feel like I get it, and they don't, and there's always a rush of slimy pride that comes with that feeling. And I know that that's a terribly divisive thing to say, and the kind of statement people don't embrace you for, merely factor into their level of tolerance for the kind of jerk you're turning out to be, and I should be (and am) grateful for all the friends I have who put up with me when I come a little unhinged during a bad viewing experience1. But for everyone who laughed when they shouldn't have: I quietly judged you, and found you lacking. Click here for the review. 1. A good example of this is when I went with friends in Houston to see Knocked Up. I loved the movie, but had one of the worst viewing experiences of my 20s. In addition to putting up with bad focus and framing, the crowd was loud, and a group of 6-8 people to my left had decided to bring a couple babies with them, because apparently their reluctance to either use the pill or snap one off alone is somehow my problem. Plus no one got the L.A. jokes, like the Northridge/LACMA/etc. references. Plus the line about Ben being dressed like a "cholo at Easter" took on a sad layer of relevance when viewing the film in Houston, which let's face it, has a bunch of cholos. And they brought their babies. Long asinine story short: I have a near-militant respect for the viewing experience, and I will cut you if you ruin it.