Austin-based writer-director Bob Byington's "Somebody Up There Likes Me" is a difficult film to describe, but easily inspires a deep sense of affection and connection. Words such as offbeat, charming or, Lord help us, quirky are wildly overused and yet this is exactly the kind of film to which they best apply.
Covering some 35 years, with animated transitional sequences, the story follows Max Youngman (Keith Poulson) and his reluctant only friend Sal ("Parks and Recreation" costar Nick Offerman, also a producer) as they bicker through life, for a time over the affections of a woman named Lyla (Jess Weixler) and then a business.
In many ways, just as with Byington's previous "Harmony and Me," this film is what the whole indie-cinema adventure should be about: bold and singular, with a fully-formed sensibility all its own.
Throughout, characters hand off a suitcase with seemingly magical, youth-restoring powers hidden inside. (Practically speaking, this allows the actors not to age even as the story covers decades.)