Dummy (2003)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Dummy is a sweet family comedy that succeeds due to charming performances, even if the final product feels slightly undercooked.

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Movie Info

The sophomore effort from writer and director Greg Pritikin, who previously co-directed and acted in 1998's Totally Confused, Dummy stars Oscar winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist, Summer of Sam) as Steven, a recently unemployed ne'er-do-well who has difficulty expressing himself. Steven's best friend is Fanny, an aspiring singer played by Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element, Resident Evil) who, along with Steven, is just looking for her niche. Eventually Fanny takes a shine to Yiddish music and Steven finds he has a knack for ventriloquism. Through his newfound talent, Steven discovers that he is able to overcome his social problems through his dummy and decides to try impressing and winning the heart of Lorena, played by Vera Farmiga (Autumn in New York, 15 Minutes). The winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2003 Santa Barbara Film Festival, Dummy also stars Illeana Douglas and Jared Harris.
Rating:
R (for language)
Genre:
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

Vera Farmiga
as Lorena
Adrien Brody
as Steven Schoichet
Milla Jovovich
as Fangora
Jared Harris
as Michael
Adam LeFevre
as Theater Director
Edward Hibbert
as Unemployed Actor
Helen Hanft
as Mrs. Gurkel
Alix Korey
as Mrs. Freed
David Wm. Sims
as Fangora's Bandmate
Poppi Kramer
as Jen Freed
Lou Marini
as Unemployed Italian
Debbie Lynn Ross
as Le Bagel Waitress
Richmond Hoxie
as Sorensen
Adam Le Fevre
as Theater Director
Gabor Morea
as Unemployed Frottager
Alan Demovsky
as Talking Mime
Jason Batchko
as Tardy Vent Student
Oren Kaplan
as Fangora's Bandmate
Tim Otto
as Fangora's Bandmate
Tom Plotkin
as Magic Store Clerk
Alan Semok
as Professor Parlepancia
Andy Senor
as Arab Caterer
Paul Wallfisch
as Fangora's Band
Lou Marini Jr.
as Unemployed Italian
Gabor Mobea
as Unemployed Frottager
Paul Wallfish
as Fangora's Bandmate
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Critic Reviews for Dummy

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (11)

Definitely lives down to its name -- you can see the lips moving on this wooden thing.

Full Review… | September 26, 2003
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

[T]he best ventriloquist -stalker -family-drama -romantic -comedy I've seen in, well maybe forever.

September 15, 2003
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Pritikin's shrewd comedy-drama catches a fine flock of family emotions on the wing, and not the over-exposed ones.

September 12, 2003
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

What could have been a biting dark comedy is, instead, uninspired and generic.

September 12, 2003
New York Post
Top Critic

Brody is a real talent, and Illeana Douglas is a riot as his older sister.

September 12, 2003
New York Daily News
Top Critic

A mildly engaging addition to that curious sub-genre of American independent filmmaking, the whimsical comedy of Long Island alienation.

September 11, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Dummy

Its contrived and sometimes, er, wooden, but the characterizations and charm are better than the flaws in this typical romcom where the eternal nerd eventually wins the girl of his dreams. Adrian Brody is again good but the film is nearly stolen by a surprising and animated Milla Jovovich.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

½

It's awkward humor that works. Milla Jovovich, as Fanny/Fangora, the consummate clueless wannabe rockstar, is brilliant, and you'd never know it from her later films. Everyone else is delightfully awkward/quirky/believable. Sadly, it all ends in all-too typical rom-com fashion, but it's certainly worth watching anyway.

   
   

Super Reviewer

I actually really admire that Adrien Brody chose to follow up The Pianist with Dummy. This movie is all kinds of bizarre and really nails a sense of awkwardness without having that typical "indie" look. It's genuinely funny and I can honestly say that I laughed out loud multiple times, which doesn't happen too often. Adrien Brody's nerdy performance as a makeshift ventriloquist is way too hilarious and impossible to not enjoy. Also, Milla Jovovich's wacko grunge character is great too. It's a unique comedy that doesn't alienate, but really just attempts to try new things with a familiar formula.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

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