LARS AND THE REAL GIRL is a fake and a bore--and Bianca the plastic mail-order girlfriend is not the one to blame. Writer Nancy Oliver spills the beans early on when the doctor/shrink character (played by Patricia Clarkson) lays out the film's entire plot for us, and then we can only sit and stare as everything (slowly) unfolds exactly as described and expected. I'll admit it was pretty funny to see Lars' plastic girlfriend mingling with the others at the dinner table, but then the same sight gag is repeated ad nauseam for the next 30 minutes, while the plot of the film remains on hold. When the story does finally begin creeping forward again, I longed for Bianca to suddenly spring to life, if only so that the film would present surprises that hadn't been foretold by the all-knowing doctor. It soon became clear that nothing interesting was going to happen, so I began to focus on other things in the film--like how extrememly unlikely it would be that one would attend a work party in contemporary small-town mid-America where early '80s Tom Tom Club and Talking Heads are being played on vinyl. And how the uptight and square-looking Lars suddenly resembles a Seattle hipster for his big emotional make-out scene with Bianca near the end of the film. These big-city flourishes imposed by the filmmakers on their small-town story only reveal their lack of confidence in the characters and material, further weakening an already wobbly film. It's a pity, since Ryan Gosling and Emily Mortimer give solid performances here. If you're the type who doesn't mind turning off your brain so you can be led down the sentimental and meandering garden path by a series of emotional cliches, golden sunsets and some tender piano music, then this is probably the film for you. But when it comes to good-quality cinema with odd-ball characters and a story that packs an emotional wallop, I, for one, prefer the real thing.