TOY STORY 3 They're back! Again! (Hey, at least it's not Cars 2.)

WELL GOSH DARN IT, you sure won't be surprised about what I have to say about Toy Story 3—it's a terrible piece of malarkey just like you thought, full of talking plasticine toys and inane gibberish about being a loyal friend, and oh boy, does it look like a blind preschooler created it using Microsoft Paint while hopped up on Ritalin. Yep, just dreadful... like everything you've seen from those Pixar hacks.

Yeah, I'm full of shit. I just don't want to write the same fawning review that everyone is going to write. Toy Story 3 is an absolute delight, full of adventure and nostalgia and most of the characters you've already grown to love in 1995 and 1999 (little green aliens!!!). It's impressive that even after three films, Woody & Co. can still trigger an insuppressible clenching in the throats of a roomful of adults and rapt attention from children. I don't want to get too sickly here, but it's thoroughly enjoyable from bombastic start to wistful ending.

Surviving the previous films' escapades with evil neighbor kid Sid and Al the avid toy collector, the gang's ranks have been thinned by the ravages of time. Gone is Bo Peep and also velvet-voiced Wheezy, they've been given away as Andy, the toys' owner, has grown up and is now on the verge of heading off to college. The toys try to put on a brave face about being boxed up or thrown away, but through a misunderstanding between Andy and his mom they're donated to a daycare. The shiny, candy-coated veneer of Sunnyside Daycare is a virtual toy paradise, until Buzz discovers the seamy underbelly, which is more of a prison camp than utopia, run by a smooth-talking strawberry-scented stuffed bear named Lotso (voiced by Ned Beatty) and his minions, who include a fancy-pantsed Ken doll (Michael Keaton). There's plenty of laughs and thrills as the group fights to find their way out of Sunnyside.

Toy Story 3 is a more complex film than its predecessors, emotionally and plot-wise, and it might even surpass them with its humor and adult-oriented pathos. This third film is kinda like saying good-bye to the beloved toys you grew up with—sad and sweet. Damn your perfect predictability, Pixar.

The 4th annual Portland Sketch Comedy Festival
Sketch comedy troupes from all over N. America descend on The Siren Theater for 3 glorious nights.