One You Might've Missed #08: Dummy


by: Brad Sturdivant

Finding diamonds in the rough is a wonderful feeling, but in order to do so, you usually have to watch a lot of bad movies. takes the pain away by recommending a movie that you may have never heard of, or missed when it first came out.

For the most part, dolls, dummies and clowns really freak me out. When it comes to dummies, there’s just something creepy about their eyes and their stringy hair. I’ve found over the years that I’m not alone in that sentiment. So it wasn’t surprising that Adrian Brody’s DUMMY came and went at the theater with barely a thud. After all, who wants to go to the theater and watch a weird comedy about ventriloquism?

Dummy 1

There’s a “CASTAWAY” moment in DUMMY where the audience finds themselves attached to an inanimate object and we actually feel sad when said object is gone. Before you know it, you realize that you actually care for that little dummy. It’s not really surprising since the dummy used in the film was basically another character. He had personality, a character arc and was treated as if he were alive through the entire film. Again, that might sound creepy, but it’s done in such a funny and simple manner that you buy into it almost immediately. However, even though the dummy is a source of laughs and a big part of the story, it’s not the only focus.  Director Greg Pritikin  has developed some pretty great characters of both the leading and supporting variety.

Dummy 4

Obviously, the film revolves around Stephen (Adrian Brody) who gets fired from his job and decides to take up his dream of becoming a ventriloquist. Stephen is a great character, filled with insecurities and a little on the loser side. He has no job, no education, no girlfriend and he still lives with his parents. But the best part of the film is watching Stephen grow once he decides to follow his dreams, no matter how strange they might seem. And even though Adrian Brody hasn’t received as much critical acclaim for a film since PIANO, he brings a charm and charisma to every role he takes. He really is a talented actor and he plays the hapless, lovable sap very well.

Dummy 5

Stephen is surrounded by three main women in the story, his sister, his best friend and his employment counselor played by Iraena Douglas, Mila Javovavich and Vera Farmiga respectively. Now, some films might just throw in these women as supporting characters to further the lead’s arc. But in DUMMY, all of these women have their own arcs and they grow just as much as Stephen. The story is simple, but witnessing Stephen and the dummy’s effect on the people around them is entertaining to watch. Clearly, the underlying message is that things will work out if you follow your dreams, but Pritikin does a good job of not beating us over the head with that.

Dummy 6

This isn’t a cheap, cookie-cutter romantic comedy that happens to feature some ventriloquism. This is actually a fun, quirky and genuine little film that has some great characters and cute story. The ventriloquism in the film (all performed live by Adrian Brody himself) is always a welcomed, and humorous anecdote to the sub dramas around the film. However, even though I really liked the movie, I still think dummies are creepy.

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