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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 overview, first billed only:
Mirabella Pisani ...
Helen Hanft ...
Mrs. Gurkel
Theater Director
Joanne Bayes ...
Unemployed Italian (as Lou Marini Jr.)
Unemployed Frottager (as Gabor Mobea)
Unemployed Actor


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


Sometimes you need a little help finding yourself. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

21 February 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brzuchomówca  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$30,120 (USA) (12 September 2003)


$71,305 (USA) (3 October 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jessica Walter and Ron Leibman, who play Adrien Brody's character's parents, are married in real life. See more »


Steven's jacket and shirt change when he enters the magic store at the beginning of the movie, then change back after he exits. See more »


Fannie: You can fuck me if I'm wrong!
Steven: No, That's okay.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Assistant technical advisor ... Jerry Mahoney (who is Paul Winchell's dummy) See more »


References Pinocchio (1940) See more »


The Dying Art
Written and Performed by Mike Ruekberg
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Odd,gentle comedy with heart
31 July 2005 | by (Topeka,Kansas,USA) – See all my reviews

Adrien Brody's next movie,after his Oscar-winning turn in "The Pianist" is this film which is beautifully odd and full of quirk and sweetness. Brody is Steven, a lonely,shy working mensch who lives at home and senses his life slipping away from him. One night,he discovers the art of ventriloquy is the venting of his trapped spirit. Spurred along by his friend,a Gothic,wild-child girl rocker named Fanny(Milla Jovovich,kinetic here),Steven pursues his dream,much to the utter amazement of his painfully neurotic family(Jessica Walter,Ron Leibmann and Ileana Douglas). Meanwhile,he harbors a crush on an employment counselor(Vera Farmigia),a sweet woman with a difficult past.

Meanwhile,the dummy Steven has worked with has nearly developed a personality of its own,goading Steven to become bolder and braver mensch.

Brody's acuity at ventriloquy further enhances this film,which has nothing particularly fancy or breathtaking to it. The love story at play here is...well,it's different. It's neither sentimental nor cynical,sweet but not syrupy. Kind of rare in the world of light romantic comedy.

The show is spare but that,I feel,enhances this pic. To me,this is one of the more unique films I've sen in quite a while. Kudos to director/writer Greg Pritkin for his deft touch. The cast is well placed and make this film both awkward and warm. I recommend this film for anyone who likes either/or both their comedies or romances odd and true.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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