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Playtime

Woody and pals return for another excellent adventure

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For a movie studio as innovative and as consistently terrific as Pixar, it's kind of odd that they're reaching into the Toy Story box for a third time. Not that we're complaining. The first Toy Story, and Pixar's first feature, from 1995 is a masterpiece of CGI storytelling. The 1999 sequel nearly tops it. The third outing achieves the near impossible: Toy Story 3 is the best of the bunch. This time, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), and the gang are accidentally shipped to a daycare center as all-grown-up Andy gets ready for college. And things don't go well. The toys run into some sticky situations (literally: the tots disassemble and try to eat the new recruits) and a hierarchy led by the pink, vindictive, and strawberry-scented Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear (Ned Beatty). Like the other two movies in the series (or most Pixar films, for that matter), Toy Story 3 expertly mixes poignancy and humor. There are so many standout moments here: The gang's first afternoon at the daycare is exhilarating. Woody ends up in a home of a little girl whose overactive imagination exceeds Andy's (I'd love to see her toys, especially thespian porcupine Mr. Pricklepants -- voiced by Timothy Dalton -- in their own movie). And bring tissues for the final scene. Seriously -- you'll need them. Credit Pixar's creative team for pulling together these great characters with such an emotionally rich and thrilling story. Nothing else in theaters will deliver as much as Toy Story 3. It's the funniest, smartest, and most touching movie you'll see this summer.

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