An ex-office worker becomes a ventriloquist, leading to a date with his unemployment counselor; but his quirky family and a gauche female friend may thwart his new career and love life.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Steven
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Fangora
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Heidi
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Fern
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Lou
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Michael
Mirabella Pisani ...
Bonnie
Helen Hanft ...
Mrs. Gurkel
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Sorensen
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Theater Director
Joanne Bayes ...
Actress
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Unemployed Italian (as Lou Marini Jr.)
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Unemployed Frottager (as Gabor Mobea)
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Unemployed Actor
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Storyline

Steven, nearly 30 and living with his parents, sees an old Edgar Bergen movie on TV and decides to fulfill his longtime dream of becoming a ventriloquist. His beautiful unemployment counselor Lorena finds him work, but puts out a restraining order on him when he paints a thank-you note on her door. Later, this young mother agrees to date him anyway, but finds his bickering family, and his inexperience with women, daunting to a relationship. Steven's sister Heidi is a wedding planner with a drunken ex-fiancé who keeps showing up at the door. His friend Fangora is a pseudo-punk rocker whose sex does not prevent her from giving him terrible advice about women. The wedding of a Jewish girl, who wants Klezmer music and gets something unexpected, will become a turning point in everyone's lives. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of a dummy and his man. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

21 February 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brzuchomówca  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$30,120 (USA) (14 September 2003)

Gross:

$71,305 (USA) (5 October 2003)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The ventriloquist teacher in the classroom scene (Alan Semok) designed and built the film's title character and also played teacher in real life as Adrien Brody's personal trainer, teaching Brody ventriloquism and puppet manipulation in a three week crash course during preproduction. See more »

Goofs

Steven returns the dummy to the magic shop where he bought it. However, when he leaves the shop, a sign reading "All sales final" can be seen on the door behind him. See more »

Quotes

Lou: [Loudly, after Heidi smashes his model battleship] You're grounded.
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Crazy Credits

Special thanks to the Fagan Family, the Cross Family, the forbidden family of Charlotte and Kendo, the Akel Family, the Sullivan Family, the Jachera Family, Howard Johnson and Tony, Amir, Rich and George, the Kingston Family, the Taylor Family, the Ziff Family, the MacCarthy Family and to all the residents and our friends in Wayne. See more »

Connections

References Fiddler on the Roof (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Children and Dreams
(2001)
Written by Paul Wallfisch, Greg Pritikin and Lisa Fishman
Performed by Lisa Fishman
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Another comedy that blurs the distinction between celebrating and belittling its loser characters; only this one is much worse
23 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Steven (Adrien Brody), nearly 30 and living with his parents, sees an old Edgar Bergen movie on TV and decides to fulfill his longtime dream of becoming a ventriloquist. His beautiful unemployment counselor Lorena (Vera Farmiga) finds him work, but puts out a restraining order on him when he paints a thank-you note on her door. Later, this young mother agrees to date him anyway, but finds his bickering family, and his inexperience with women, daunting to a relationship. Steven's sister Heidi (Illeana Douglas) is a wedding planner with a drunken ex-fiancé who keeps showing up at the door. His friend Fangora (Milla Jovavich) is a pseudo-punk rocker whose sex does not prevent her from giving him terrible advice about women. The wedding of a Jewish girl, who wants Klezmer music and gets something unexpected, will become a turning point in everyone's lives.

Whoa, this is bad. Greg Pritikin directs his own script, about a tenth of which is funny. The rest strains hard to give us quirky characters, wacky situations and unexpected plot twists; but we can't buy any of it. The movie becomes unrecoverable when Lorena changes her mind about the restraining order and agrees to date Steven—after he mails her a videotaped apology featuring himself and his dummy. The message on her door disturbed her, but the tape charmed her? I could almost hear Vera Farmiga's brain going "ZZZZZT!" as she tried to play this character. Their relationship grows into the least believable nerd-with-beautiful-girl scenario I've ever seen.

The performances are varied. Adrien Brody recovers fairly well from playing such a pointless character. Farmiga is charming, especially considering the impossibility of her job. Jovavich, with her affected Jersey accent, never quite seems to inhabit her character. Illeana Douglas, a good actress, does a lousy job here. She doesn't seem to get what she's doing, and we can hardly blame her.

This is part of a sub-genre in comedy that I dislike: one that blurs the distinction between celebrating and belittling the losers it depicts. "Napoleon Dynamite," "Waiting for Guffman" and documentaries like "American Movie" and "Gates of Heaven" all belong in this dubious category. But "Dummy" is much worse. It's as phony as it is condescending.


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