-MONTHLY VHS & DVD REVIEW-
copyright © 2001 - 2004 VideoVista
cast: Desmond Harrington, Melissa Sagemiller, Rip Torn, Udo Kier, and Ellen Greene
writer and director: Robert Parigi
84 minutes (18) 2003 widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Mosaic DVD Region 2 rental and retail
Also available to rent or buy on video
[released 5 July]
reviewed by Mike Philbin
I always thought, 'Yeah, a film about Real Doll,' that'd sorta make sense in a twisted
sorta way. You could show the type of person who would invest that much time and money
into caring for their (very expensive) love purchase, the sort of man who would show her
all the compassion and respect such a trinket deserved. Right?
You already have the Real Doll website to glean all the information from.
There you can see how your choices are laid out; eyes, hair, and skin colour, number of
holes (I kid you not), pelvic gyration. You get what you pay for and in such wonderfully
rendered soft latex, skeletally articulated detail any fool wouldn't but fall in love right
there and then. Yes?
Just like Kenneth (Desmond Harrington). He's a technical copyrighter. A
manic compulsive. A loner. A filthy stinking pervert who, rather than get a girlfriend of
his own, listens at the paper-thin wall inside his wardrobe to the philanderous activity
of apartment manager Radley (Udo Kier). Kenneth's workmates introduce him to Nikki's Internet
world of plastic porn-doll purchasing (a sorta Real Doll clone site). At $10,000 you can
have anything you want.
But the Nikki doll that arrives looks like shit - budgetary restrictions
on the part of the producer maybe? The skin is pasty with little or no texture. The fingers
are clumsy. The face is pathetic looking. The hair's a mess. Everything about it looks wrong,
cheap - sordid.
They should have even got one of those real Real Dolls. I am sure that
Abyss Creations who make the actual Real Dolls would have been happy of the publicity. Or
maybe they wouldn't. This film is a little weak on suspension of disbelief. It's also a
little weak in the depiction of the sort of person who buys these 'sex aids'. Market research
suggests that many 'couples' are getting hold of those hyper-expensive sex dolls to enhance
the oldest gig in the book, the threesome, without the guilt of loving one or the other too
much. After all, it's just healthy sexual activity where one part of the threesome is life-sized
and moist and posable. And now Real Doll comes in a male model, with changeable penises.
This film even fucks up on the fetishistic aspect of the opening of the
crate. You know Real Dolls are delivered in a crate, right? Yeah, they come sat up, fully
dressed, and strapped into this crate - like the perfect gift. You don't wanna just rip the
bitch out of her flat-packed box and fuck her roughly on the bed before kicking her to the
bedroom floor. That's a waste of $10,000 and terrible presentation on the part of the company.
They eventually try to develop a romance angle between 'Bob' and doll. But
they can't work out how to play it. Even the introduction of a real-life romance interest
Lisa (Sagemiller) shows the lack of love from all members of the cast and crew. What should
have been a heartfelt polemic of a man caught between a rock and a hard place, torn between
his inability to date real people and his obsessive love for the doll, tries to play it like
that Anthony Hopkins film Magic (about a bewitched ventriloquist's dummy) - and a bad
attempt at emulation it is, too.
It would have made a better film if they'd actually just let nature, and
the power of Kenneth's imagination, take its course and allowed Kenneth to figurise his love
for the doll onto the actual shape of the Lisa character, actually show the doll improving
into the Lisa (real but unmoving) version. But no such luck.
But what am I really saying? Do I advocate Real Doll? Am I a salesman for
their kinky hi-tech wares? Who cares? The fact is this film is about a man who would rather
pay for a plastic person than hump a professional hooker or woo a real woman. Personally, I
would rather watch an HBO documentary about why people find Real Dolls so great for their sex
life than this twisted and unfunny pile of crap. And what a waste of Udo Kier...
The DVD version contains the bare minimum of content; movie in Dolby audio,
scene selection and a trailer.