Toy Story

Obsessive gloom is the order of the day this weekend in theaters — from missing children (Gone Baby Gone) to dead family members (Things We Lost in the Fire, Reservation Road) to the regretfully undead (Wristcutters: A Love Story). So we thought we'd take a walk on the lighter side. With its collagelike aesthetic, its deadpan lyrical voice-over, and its truly bizarre portrait of one unfortunately demented (yet ultimately harmless) soul, Erika Yeomans's Chubby Buddy plays like a George Saunders short story come to life — absurd, hilarious, tragic, and poignant in equal measure, with a good dose of embarrassment comedy. To say any more would be to give away the film’s rather charming plot conceit, and the beguilingly original atmospherics director Yeomans (who recently completed her first feature, Pose Down) conjures up with the simplest of devices. —Bilge Ebiri