This story should have resulted in disaster: A pathologically shy Wisconsin man (Ryan Gosling) orders a sex doll and begins to cart her around his small town as if she was a real woman. The catch is that his neighbors play along. Soon Bianca, as she is named, has turned Lars into a genial member of society and won the hearts of the townspeople. She even gets elected to the school board. None of this should work, but director Craig Gillespie, screenwriter Nancy Oliver and Gosling (in an out-of-character turn) somehow find just the right tone – two parts empathy, one part goofiness and not a trace of derision.