Ryan Gosling gets to play an all-star nutter in "All Good Things," a film that offers a fictionalized account of a real-life loon, Robert "Don't Call Me Fred" Durst, the son of a New York real estate magnate who was put on trial for acting in a very unsociable manner.

So, how do you like your lunatics?


Well done? Rimshot, please.


Ryan Gosling gets to play an all-star nutter in "All Good Things," a film that offers a fictionalized account of a real-life loon, Robert "Don't Call Me Fred" Durst, the son of a New York real estate magnate who was put on trial for acting in a very unsociable manner.


With Oscar time upon us, "All Good Things" falls into that category of "serious" films where happiness exists as a diversion. That it has been resting on a studio shelf for awhile makes one wonder if perhaps it was too "serious" for its own good.


When we first meet David Marks, aka Durst, he's a pot-smoking mess. There's no need for a psychiatry degree to see that Marks has issues. That he hasn't been institutionalized is a wonder. That he finds someone to marry him is a miracle. But he does, and unlike our madman across the Hudson, she's normal and played by Mary Jane Watson herself, Kirsten Dunst.


You may ask what Dunst's character, Katie McCarthy, sees in Marks since she's an intelligent, middle-class woman who shows no interest in social climbing up the Marks' multimillion-dollar ladder. Doesn't she see that her sweetie may be crazy? For argument's sake, let's just say that Marks can be charming when he's not acting like a professional wackjob.


The couple eventually opens a health food store in Vermont called All Good Things. Irony alert. Health food? Can I hear another rimshot? And you don't need to be familiar with Nelly Furtado's songbook to know that all goods things come to an end.


Here, the health store's end arrives quickly when Marks' overbearing and abusive father, Sanford (Frank Langella), convinces his son to return to New York and join the family business. Now you may wonder why Sanford wants his son, whom he considers an abject failure, to join the family business when one of his sons is already involved and performing admirably. For argument's sake, let's just say that blood is thicker than brain fluid.


It's not long before David and Katie's marriage starts unraveling. And we know that bad things are going to happen because the film is told in flashback from Marks' trial. He's not there for jaywalking.


Director Andrew Jarecki makes his feature film debut here after winning acclaim for his documentary, "Capturing the Friedmans." Like "All Good Things," that film also involves a family dynamic of the disturbing kind.


Reality seems to be suit Jarecki better than altered reality, however, as the director could have faced arrest by the cliche police for committing crimes against cinematic decency. There's a scene where Marks, whom one can assume is Jewish, is invited to dinner at the house of Katie's loving parents and the main course happens to be ham. Woody Allen served up the same dish for laughs in "Annie Hall."


The film also loses dramatic steam when Katie, well, exits. Marks then hooks up with a lowlife, Malvern Bump (Philip Baker Hall), saves him from eviction and then asks him to help him out of a blackmail situation. The two then have a falling out, so to speak.


Despite all its problems, "All Good Things" has a few good things going for it. Gosling does put the manic in maniac and Dunst gives one of her better performances as someone trying to come to grips with a man she once loved and now fears.


The supporting cast is also strong thanks to Langella, Baker Hall and Lily Rabe, daughter of the late Jill Clayburgh, who plays Marks' longtime friend.


The movie also benefits from its mysterious elements, all-around bad behavior and large-scale weirdness. That said, Durst's real-life exploits were actually more bizarre. Here, truth is stranger than fiction, and that's not necessarily a good thing.


Just don't mistake this movie for a cinematic rendition of the final episode of the TV show "Star Trek: Next Generation," which shares this film's title.


Consider its deranged subject matter, "All Good Things" could have been a truly disturbing film. It instead suffers from its own schizophrenia where love means never having to say you're psycho.


"All Good Things" is rated R for drug use, violence, profanity, nudity and some sexuality. Running time: 101 minutes.


Grade: B-