Release Date: September 12, 2003
Limited release

Illeana discovers that she gravely misunderstood Adrien's offer to show her his 'big Woody.'

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After years of slander and defamation from those close minded bigots who run Hollywood, someone has *finally* made a movie showing the Non-organic, Hand-Assisted Comedic Entertainers community in a positive light. It's only thanks to the tireless public relations and lobbying efforts of our brothers in W.O.O.D.I.E. (Wood-based Orators Opposed to Defamatory Images in Entertainment) that our children can look forward to a future world in which all members of the ventriloquist community will no longer have to see themselves portrayed in television and movies as knife-wielding murderers or emotionally unstable freaks with mother issues. (And let me tell you, when the revolution comes, those bastards over at Tales From the Crypt will be the first against the wall). Free at last! Free at last! Thank Gabbo almighty, we are free at last!

..........*ahem* Dummy is the first feature film by writer/director Greg Pritikin. Everyone's favorite opportunistic Berry-mangler, Adrien Brody, stars as Steven, a sensitive, introverted young man who turns to ventriloquism to help himself cope with the pressures of the outside world, not the least of which come from his eccentric family and friends. Steven's mom (Jessica Walter from Slums of Beverly Hills) is a stereotypical Jewish mother who seems to believe that there is no problem that can't be solved by food (perhaps she saw how frighteningly emaciated Brody looked by the end of The Pianist). Steven's dad (Broadway star Rob Liebman) is retired and spends all of his new free time building model war ships and watching porn. The always delightful Illeana Douglas (recently of the tragically cancelled sitcom Action) rounds out the disfunctional family as Steven's sister Heidi who has recently broken off her engagement with her emotionally unstable boyfriend and thrown herself head first into a highly dubious new career as a wedding planner. Add the reliably wacky Milla Jovovich (the sight of whom always makes me think of that review of The Fifth Element in which a critic referred to her character as an "anorexic, cartwheeling carrot") as Steven's volatile wannabe punk singer best friend Fanny and you can see why a guy might turn to a block of wood for a security blanket. As Steven starts to develop feelings for his relatively normal unemployment counselor (Vera Farmiga), his ventriloquist companion/alter ego helps him to come out of his shell so he can woo her. All in all, the film is reported to be funny and sweet, without being cloying, which is always tough to pull off.

Festival screenings of this movie resulted in uniformly favorable buzz, both for Pritkin's direction and storytelling and for what is said to be strong performances by all of the actors. Artisan will handle the distribution and currently intends to open the film in limited release in early September. Here's crossing our fingers that those initial comparisons to Wes Anderson aren't far off the mark. (Jennifer Turnock/BOP)

Vital statistics for Dummy
Main Cast Adrien Brody, Milla Jovovich
Supporting Cast Illeana Douglas, Vera Farmiga, Jared Harris, Ron Leibman, Jessica Walter
Director Greg Pritikin
Screenwriter Greg Pritikin
Distributor Artisan Entertainment
Trailer http://www.artisanent.com/dummy/
Official Site http://www.artisanent.com/ComingAttractions/Dummy.html
Rating R
Running Time 90 minutes
Screen Count 5
  • Special Jury Prize (2003 Santa Barbara Film Festival)

Awards page for Dummy
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Dummy
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Royal Tenenbaums, The 1/4/028.51 8.84 751 11344.00 11344.0 52.35 54.42 4.72
Pianist, The 3/28/032.46 2.46 773 3177.00 3177.0 32.52 32.52 4.63
Being John Malkovich 11/24/992.04 2.43 591 3452.00 3941.3 22.86 27.24 5.59
Kissing Jessica Stein 4/5/020.99 1.02 319 3095.00 3095.0 7.02 7.29 4.77
Slums of Beverly Hills 9/11/980.86 1.10 548 1569.00 1940.3 5.48 7.04 3.17



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