4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
What a dummy,
This review is from: Dummy [DVD] (DVD)
"Dummy" is one of the weirdest, most heartwarming indie films that most moviegoers have never seen. Unless they are rabid Adrian Brody fans.
That's unfortunate, because this wild, slightly surreal film is enormous fun. It starts off with a quirky family, like a suburban Wes Anderson story, but slowly becomes something more heartwarming as the hero learns to follow his bliss. It's weird enough to be cool, but sweet enough to give you the warm fuzzies.
Steven Schoichet (Adrian Brody) is a suburban Dilbert. His job is a dead end, and he's still living with his battleship-building dad, his sweetly oblivious mom and his embittered sister Heidi (Illeana Douglas). On impulse, he decides to buy a ventriloquist's dummy and learns how to use it. This, he decides, is his new job.
Making things more complex is the fact that he is falling in love with his unemployment counsellor (Vera Farmiga). Punk-rocker Fangora (Milla Jovovich) decides to help Steven win her over, despite his weird family. But her advice only causes more problems, and soon Steven has to learn that the real him is the most attractive. Will the dummy help Steven find love, or will he lapse back into his dreary, passionless life?
It's definitely a variation on a typical movie plot: Boy meets dummy. Dummy helps boy meet girl. Boy loses girl. Dummy helps boy pluck up the courage to get girl back. Yup, this is not your typical movie, since the hero's sidekick is a wooden doll.
But while that's the surface of it, the real plot of "Dummy" is about following your bliss, whether it's your soulmate, a wooden dummy, a career or your art. In other words, cast off your "realistic" life if it doesn't make you happy, and just follow what you secretly long to do. You'll be happier for it.
Yeah, it sounds mushy. But it's wrapped up in a plot so offbeat you won't notice, especially since there is a subplot about Fanny's punk band having to learn Yiddish klezmer music. Writer/director Greg Pritikin directs like a more relaxed Wes Anderson, with odd camerawork and deadpan humor ("You look like a child molester!" Heidi says about the dummy).
All the actors in this are good, no matter how minor their roles. Adrian Brody does a wonderful job as a Steven, whose real personality only shines through when he has his dummy to speak for him. He's sweet, sensitive and downtrodden. And Jovovich steals each scene as the foul-mouthed, fatigue-clad, shoplifting, exuberant and wild Fanny, who lives for her punk music.
Romantics and black comedy fans will enjoy "Dummy," with its weird characters and oddball humor. Follow your bliss.