Somebody Up There Likes Me

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Bob Byington, one of several oddball filmmakers who call Austin home, has perhaps out-quirked himself with “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” a whimsically deadpan comedy spanning three decades in the lives of hapless waiter Max (Keith Poulson) and his beloved Lyla (Jess Weixler). Time passes quickly for them, as in a dream — one minute they’re getting married; the next minute they have a young son — and Byington’s decision not to bother adjusting the actors’ appearance to reflect their characters’ advancing age is just one of many surreal touches. At 76 minutes, this is barely a feature; as a peculiar series of straight-faced gags designed to baffle and bemuse, it’s barely a movie at all. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but “Somebody Up There Likes Me” — a mixture of Miranda July’s magical realism and Charlie Kaufman’s bittersweet absurdity — benefits from a consistency of vision and a genuinely unusual storytelling approach.

B (1 hr., 16 min.; Not Rated.)

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