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!