Buzz Lightyear and ‘Toy Story’ gang return for ‘Small Fry’
Buzz Lightyear, get ready to get punk’d.
The famous Toy Story space explorer gets replaced by a pint-sized impostor in the Pixar short Small Fry, released in theaters Nov. 23 with The Muppets.
Blame it all on toy envy as a Happy Meal-type toy at a fast-food restaurant yearns to break out of his display case to play like a real toy. He kidnaps Buzz Lightyear in an attempt to take over his play-filled existence.
“It’s like the Prince and the Pauper tale for toys,” says writer/director Angus MacLane. “Except one of them happens to be 3 inches tall.”
The life-reversal forces the real Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Tim Allen, to deal with a support group for discarded, unloved fast-food toys.
“These toys’ existence is about being really popular before the meal and then being totally forgotten about,” MacLane says. “And sometimes they don’t even get played with.”
Though Buzz doesn’t fit into the group, he has trouble exiting.
“There’s something funny about having the action hero have to deal with something very mundane like escaping from an awkward social situation,” MacLane says. “To me, that’s funny.”
Allen and Toy Story regulars Tom Hanks (voicing Woody, who, naturally, immediately notices the switch), John Ratzenberger (Hamm) and Joan Cusack (Jessie) return for the seven-minute short.
“They know their characters so well at this point,” MacLane says, pointing out that the first Toy Story was released in 1995. “Tim just snapped right into it. But I bet he thought the concept was pretty strange.”
Pixar director Teddy Newton was the “perfect match” for mouthy Mini Buzz, and MacLane voices several discarded mini-toys such as T-Bone and Super Pirate. Glee’s Jane Lynch makes her first Pixar appearance as the narcissistic support-group leader Neptuna.
“Jane has an appealing way of being demeaning to people but where you still like her — even though she’s kind of horrible,” MacLane says. “Right away, she got the character.”
The short film’s message is simple: Don’t forget those little toys.
Says MacLane, “You just have to give these guys a little bit of love.”