The Animation Show

The ongoing decline of the Spike & Mike festivals, with their crappy computer animation and pointlessly scatological gags, has been offset by the growing excellence of Mike Judge's Animation Show, so successful that this year Judge has actually commissioned work from four artists. Steve Dildarian's Angry Unpaid Hooker (2005) is just as naughty as the crudest Spike & Mike entry, but its story of a husband trying to explain to his wife why there's a call girl in their living room also has genuine wit and razor-sharp timing. Smith & Foulkes's This Way Up, about a couple of pallbearers chasing an errant corpse, renders its slapstick gags in velvety black-and-white 3-D images. PES, whose stop-motion video game parody Game Over was a highlight of last year's edition, returns with Western Spaghetti, in which colorful bits are used to represent an Italian meal in progress. 82 min.

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