Dumbstruck (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

Dumbstruck (2011)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

If mom or dad ask what you want to be when you grow up, and you answer, 'a ventriloquist,' chances are they will a) question your sanity, b) have you locked up, c) be thrilled because they've just seen the delightful new documentary, DUMBSTRUCK. The journey begins at the annual Vent Haven convention in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky, ventriloquism capitol of the world (now you know where to take your next vacation). The film focuses on five 'vents', who are quirky enough to star in Christopher Guest's BEST IN SHOW. But they are real, and their stories are deeply human and universal: Dylan, a shy 13-year-old who dreams of being a professional but whose dad prefers football; Kim, a former Miss Ohio beauty queen, who yearns to 'make it' on the cruise ship circuit; Dan, a successful cruise ship performer whose wife may divorce him when he comes ashore; Terry, who, after 22 years of struggle in Corsicana, Texas, finds himself on NBC's America's Got Talent with a chance to win $1 million; and Wilma -- all six-foot-five of her -- who brings her dummies to Walmart and 'entertains' in senior homes. With its heart firmly planted on its polyester sleeve, Dumbstruck takes the American dream sideways and never loses its way. The film traverses the country from coast to coast, cruising the Mexican Riviera, Bahamas and Japan. We share in their successes and missteps, both on- and off-stage, as they strive in their own ways to achieve the American dream. The film is filled with music, laughter and a roller coaster of emotions, riding through the world of ventriloquism. --(c) Official Sitemore
Rating: PG (for brief suggestive humor)
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Mark Goffman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 19, 2011
Box Office: $15.0k
Runtime:
Truly Indie - Official Site

Cast

Bob Ashman
as Participant
Maria Ashman
as Participant
Dylan Burdette
as Participant
Jennifer Burdette
as Participant
Barry Burdette
as Participant
Terry Fator
as Participant
Melinda Fator
as Participant
Debi Fator
as Participant
David Hasselhoff
as Participant
Dan Horn
as Participant
Darrell Johnson
as Participant
Sissy Johnson
as Participant
Terry L. Johns
as Participant
Rick Kerns
as Participant
Tom Ladshaw
as Participant
John D. McEntee
as Participant
Piers Morgan
as Participant
Sharon Osbourne
as Participant
Jane Risner
as Participant
Annie Roberts
as Participant
Michael Ruk
as Participant
Scott Sibella
as Participant
Marie Fator Sly
as Participant
Jerry Springer
as Participant
Wilma Swartz
as Participant
Lisa Sweasy
as Participant
Mark Wade
as Participant
Dave Willacker
as Participant
Kim Yeager
as Participant
Bob Rumba
as Participant
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Dumbstruck

Critic Reviews for Dumbstruck

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (12)

Quirky, if uneven.

Full Review… | July 6, 2011
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

The world of ventriloquists is a fascinating one (especially if you, too, once had your own mail-order Mortimer Snerd dummy). And it comes to real life in the gentle documentary "Dumbstruck."

Full Review… | April 22, 2011
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

"Dumbstruck" is a documentary tailor-made for dummies and those who love them dearly.

Full Review… | April 22, 2011
Washington Post
Top Critic

What a bunch of dummies.

Full Review… | April 22, 2011
New York Post
Top Critic

An earnest but undeniably eye-rolling documentary about the denizens of this odd pocket of show business.

Full Review… | April 22, 2011
New York Daily News
Top Critic

The writer and director, Mark Goffman, sticks to a no-frills style that makes the film feel longer than its 1 hour 24 minutes.

Full Review… | April 21, 2011
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Dumbstruck

½

Another wedge of American culture is tilled in this documentary, which starts at the VentHaven Convention of Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky, an annual meeting place for the film's five subjects. The film certainly hinges on their individual stories, each aptly tragic. At the crux is 2007 winner of America's Got Talent Terry Fator, who quickly rises from obscurity to become one of Forbes top ten best paid comedians. His talent and specific skill for singing hauntingly beautiful odes to Etta James, Louis Armstrong, and Guns n' Roses makes him the most interesting and watchable of the motley crew. We're also given introspective looks into lesser known ventriloquists such as cruise ship hopper Dan Horn, obviously the best manipulator in the business, with realistic facial expressions and mannerisms. The quirkiest is former Miss. Ohio pageant winner Kim Yeager, who is not as talented as her counterparts, always trying to get a job on the lucrative cruise ship circuit, or leave it all behind and finally settle down in Cincinnati. Quick flashes of a thirteen year old boy with a black dummy, which doesn't fit in any discernible way, and a woman who resembles a bird and speaks like a lost alien being are thrown in as filler throughout. Nothing is truly revealed or discovered about the art of ventriloquism, though they sometimes say encouraging things to one another about their skills. We do see inside the dummies, the vast props and things they must buy to accommodate them, and the affects of a life that revolves around playing with dolls. Yes, the characters all have their own obstacles to overcome, but none of their emotions are mined. We never see the depth of the father-son relationship concerning the thirteen year old and his masculine inclined father, or the desperation behind the fading beauty queen's lackluster act. It's not boring, but it could have been much better and culturally informative.

FrizzDrop
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Whoever thought that the world of ventriloquism could be so fascinating, or this touching? The greatest part about this documentary is not the dummies on display, but the real people behind their voices, movements, and emotions. In only 85 minutes you get a snapshot of the lives of five people who have given their time, talent, and their self-worth over to a career that asks an audience of children or adults to laugh at a stuffed puppet. More importantly, the film shows the heights and lows of such an endeavor. You see stars like Terry Fator born, and a marriage dissolve. You see a mothers disdain for her daughters love for what she does, and a fatherÔ(TM)s disappointment that his son would rather play with dummies, than be a football player. This is real life, in all of its sweetness and its sorrows.

GRADE: B+

I always love watch documentaries, I find them intriguing in that I learn about something that I would normally not want or care to see. Dumbstruck is a doc about ventriloquism, being that one of my greatest fears going up was a little doll named Chucky from a little movie called Child's Play I had no desire to sit through a 90min movie about dolls/puppets/dummies...whatever.
After the movie I was pleasantly surprised. The movie was a little slow in the beginning, but as are most docs. The characters introduced became more real with each passing min and I found myself sympathizing with them in that, I have a hobby/vice that some would consider weird, so what makes us so different?
The film was good...definitely a movie I think will be talked about after its release on Netflix (where most people catch up on their documentaries).

dimes l.
dimes lincoln

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