The thought of sitting through a comedy about a man and his talking dummy wasn’t the most enticing one, even with Academy Award nominee Adrien Brody as the man in question. But the film needed to be seen and I elected myself as the man to do it – a stroke of luck on my part as I saw one of the funniest films playing in Austin this week.
Adrien Brody plays Steven, a twentysomething shmoe, unemployed, living with his folks, and finally deciding to try his hand at his lifelong dream – ventriloquism. With his dummy on his lap, he’s not the best ventriloquist you’ve ever seen, but he’s not the worst and this wooden midget allows him to express himself in a way he was never able to before due to his shyness.
But “Dummy” doesn’t just focus on Steven. We get to meet his bizarre family – his retired father who sits around gluing model battleships together and watching porn, his mother who’s constantly trying to jam a sandwich down someone’s throat, his sister, played by Illeana Douglas, a wedding planner on the verge of a nervous breakdown due to her own relationship problems, and grandma…grandma just stands around and smiles. He also has a best friend, Fangora, played by Milla Jovovich, who’s a loud punk rocker, who takes to learning klezmer music in order to help his sister out at the upcoming wedding she’s planning. With friends and family like that, I would probably wind up on my bed, in my undies, talking to a dummy. But then there’s Steven’s unemployment officer, a pretty young single mother, who he finds himself falling for and who is possibly the one person that can help him come out of his shell.
With this marvelous cast of characters and the comic brilliance of writer/director Greg Pritikin, nary a minute goes by that you’re not slapping your knee with laughter. It’s amazing just how funny a film about suburb life can be, but then again, I’m certain that Pritikin would be able to make anything funny. Get this guy some more money to make another film…QUICK!! “Dummy” is an ultimate crowd-pleaser.