One of the reasons I like small, independent shorts is that often times they can explore ideas that are literally just that – ideas that someone thought would be funny, or dramatic, or just plain strange. Doll It Up, a short film sent to us by one of our favorite contributors, Timothy J. Cox, is a MFA senior project by director/writer Yalan Hu. The concept is similar to a small film starring Ryan Gosling called Lars and the Real Girl. But it takes the idea further.
Essentially the plot is this – Gunther (Timothy J. Cox) is a man who is married. To a sex doll he has named Natalie. However, the relationship is fading (or deflating) and so Gunther replaces Natalie and throws her out. But having a new doll is just as taxing, because Gunther isn’t the only one interested.
I think it’s interesting some of the things that Hu does with world building here. There’s a larger story going on than just Gunther’s life – it feels a bit like Her in the way that it builds out from one character’s bizarre behavior. I think that is the best part of the short – it feels fully cooked in a way that few do.
Part of this also comes from Cox’s performance, which is exactly what the character needs. He comes across as well-meaning and earnest in a role that could have been played entirely for laughs. Don’t get me wrong, the laughs are there – but they don’t necessarily come at Gunther’s expense. That’s a critical distinction, because it makes the story feel real. And we’re talking about a story where people marry sex dolls, so that’s really impressive.
So if you want to watch a quick, funny short, check it out! It’s good for some laughs and a fun story. I’m giving it a “A-“.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"