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Dummy (2002)

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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.

Director:

Greg Pritikin

Writer:

Greg Pritikin
1 win. See more awards »

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Tragi-comic, romantic whodunnit set in a run down hotel which plays host to mentally ill people too poor to afford medical insurance.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Adrien Brody ... Steven
Milla Jovovich ... Fangora
Illeana Douglas ... Heidi
Vera Farmiga ... Lorena
Jessica Walter ... Fern
Ron Leibman ... Lou
Jared Harris ... Michael
Mirabella Pisani Mirabella Pisani ... Bonnie
Helen Hanft ... Mrs. Gurkel
Richmond Hoxie ... Sorensen
Adam LeFevre ... Theater Director
Joanne Bayes Joanne Bayes ... Actress
Lou Martini Jr. ... Unemployed Italian (as Lou Marini Jr.)
Gabor Morea ... Unemployed Frottager (as Gabor Mobea)
Edward Hibbert ... 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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Lionsgate Entertainment

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Yiddish

Release Date:

21 February 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brzuchomówca See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,120, 14 September 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$71,305, 5 October 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

When Stephen brings home the dummy for the first time, he only opens the latch on the left side of the suitcase first. In the next shot, he opens both of the latches, even though the left would have already been unlatched. See more »

Quotes

Steven: I look both ways when I cross the street.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the international DVD release, there are scenes of Fanny and Micheal talking outside about Tennessee Williams during and after the credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

From the time this movie was shown at an AFM Premiere screening on 21 February 2002 to the time it was released to theaters on 12 September 2003, there were so many changes that the earlier screening could be considered as a work in progress. The cast was revised and eight new songs were added to the soundtrack. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bad Santa (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Der Heyser Bulgar
Traditional
Performed by The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Brody & Co. Shine in Twentysomething Coming-of-Age Tale
12 June 2004 | by dtbSee all my reviews

DUMMY, one of Adrien Brody's two shelved indies that finally made it to theaters after he won his PIANIST Oscar, is much more likable and watchable than the other one, LOVE THE HARD WAY (about which I groused at length elsewhere in the IMDb). TV Guide Online critic Maitland McDonagh described this quirky young-adults-coming-of-age comedy as "repetitive and obvious but somehow endearing, like a truly ugly dog with sweet eyes," and I pretty much agree with her assessment. This Long Island-based story of a pair of twentysomething siblings still living at home with their annoying, critical parents (Jessica Walter and Ron Leibman are so convincing as Mom and Dad, it's scary!) while trying to find their respective paths to independence could have been shrill and tiresome, and at times it teeters dangerously close to being so. Luckily, the superb leads bring a gentle, non-cloying sweetness and poignancy to their performances that makes you keep watching and rooting for them. That's saying quite a bit when you consider that the road to full-tilt adulthood for brother Steven (Brody) involves honing his ventriloquism skills (Brody learned ventriloquism for his role, and he does a good job! I wonder if Brody drops such acquired-for-a-role skills once the movie wraps, or if he keeps them honed just for fun?) with a rather unnerving, unnamed dummy (not to keep digressing, but with such rare exceptions as Charlie McCarthy, aren't most ventriloquist's dummies rather unnerving? :-) as he woos Lorena, his employment counselor (enchantingly played by Vera Farmiga), who's got issues of her own. High-strung sister Heidi (Illeana Douglas) is trying to forge a career as a wedding planner, but she's got her work cut out for her, what with an inept stalker ex-fiance (Jared Harris) dogging her every move, her first major professional assignment turning out to be a Jewish wedding where the bride insists on klezmer music, and not owning her own car; the scenes where Heidi has to beg their mom for the car are both funny and painful. Adding to all this anxiety-laced wackiness is Steven's high school pal Fangora, née Fanny (Milla Jovovich), an aspiring punk rocker and all-around nutty chick who claims she can play klezmer music so she'll get the wedding gig, as well as giving Steven well-meant but questionable advice on how to win Lorena's heart, such as spray-painting a message on Lorena's front door. Fortunately, in writer/director Greg Pritikin's world, even restraining orders and omnipresent ventriloquist's dummies can't block the path to love and happiness for long, and everyone gets what they deserve. Brody and Douglas are particularly well-cast; with their attractively angular faces, almond-shaped green eyes, and overall air of angst, they make very convincing siblings. Jovovich is hilarious, especially in the running gag where she and her punk band practice their klezmer numbers. Between DUMMY and ZOOLANDER, it's clear that Jovovich has a flair for comedy. I hope she gets more chances to keep her funny side up!


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