Purl is a surprisingly raunchy takedown of fratty bros.
The first surprising thing about Purl, the latest Pixar short you can now watch online, is that it’s probably the first Pixar work to feature a character shouting a swear word. (“Ass.”) The second—and most—surprising thing about Purl is its target: the fratty, beer-fueled, sup-bro-let’s-crush-it-bro culture of office bros. Is that a lot of “bro” for you? That’s the point, bro.
The short’s about a sentient ball of yarn named Purl on her first day at B.R.O., a finance company comprised mostly of identical-seeming dudes who primarily seem interested in lewd jokes and corporate dick-swinging. However, since Purl is a friendly, femme ball of yarn, they’re not too eager to include her, made uncomfortable by her twee knitting puns and general disinterest in treating people different from her as fodder for mockery.
But then she tries to fit in, and that results in all sorts of stuff you’ve never seen in a Pixar film before, short or otherwise.
Purl is the first short from Pixar’s new Sparkshorts program, described by Pixar as “indie filmmaking inside of Pixar,” where staffers from across the company are given freedom to make low-budget shorts on a deadline in the hopes of identifying new voices and pushing the boundaries. Purl seems like it achieves that goal, not just by pushing Pixar’s bawdy boundaries, but by tackling a real-life adult subject like toxic masculinity in a strikingly direct way. Even if its conclusion is more than a little pat, Purl seems to show Pixar swinging for the fences with these new shorts, and that’s fascinating to watch.
The next short is Smash and Grab, due February 11, followed by Kitbull on February 18.
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