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Dummy

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 03/11/03 10:10:05

"I never thought I'd say this but... Milla Jovovich... she's awesome."
5 stars (Awesome)

Perfection. Magnificent. Without flaw. Hilarious. That's Adrien Brody's next flick, Dummy, and if it isn't given the same kind of support and release as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, there isn't a shred of justice in the world of film. Brody continues to prove he's the best young actor around, Illeana Douglas is finally allowed to shine, Vera Farmiga is a star in the making and Milla Jovovich... yes, it almost hurts me physically and emotionally to say it, but she's freaking glorious. And no, I am not high.

Brody is Steven, a nervy hen-pecked son who dreams of being a ventriloquist. From this we can establish that he's also very close to insane. His sister, Heidi (Illeana Douglas) is just as hen-pecked as Steven, but she responds by being loud and outspoken. So who hen-pecks these kids? Their folks, of course.

Played to perfection by Jessica Walter and Ron Leibman, this is the sort of family unit that would send the Brady Bunch into convulsions of disgust. Dad watches pornos as he spends his daytime hours putting together model battleships, mom cranks out sandwiches like there's no tomorrow, and the kids flail about trying to get a single line of thought together without being put down. If this is beginning to sound like a Vincent Gallo interpretation of family life, I neglected to mention that this is FUNNY stuff, kind of a Home For The Holidays with a Yiddish twist.

While Dummy is superbly written, perfectly constructed and jam-packed with fantastic characters and performances, it will certainly perplex most educated audience members to realize that the show is completely stolen by a woman better known as a model (or a director's girlfriend) than an actress. I'll admit it; I've previously described Milla Jovovich as the thespianic equivalent of an Ikea coffee table (translated: she may look great and not be very costly, but she's not likely to last more than a few years).

Well I take it all back because in this film, surrounded by the best of the best, Milla Jovovich is a joy ot bheh;old (excuse the typos, but my fists are clenching as I type). Jovovich, as Steven's high school geek buddy turned punk rock wannabe, is quite honestly worthy of her own film in this role. She is shockingly good; funny, three-dimensional, gorgeous without being model-esque and a total scenery-chewer. What does this mean for the world if we can't even rely on Milla Jovovich to stink anymore? What next, Sharon Stone joins MENSA?

In the middle of all this bedlam, there's a touch of twisted romance going on that takes this movie from simple hilarity to the level of 'something for everyone'. And you know what that means; the grandmothers will be coming out to the movies again and laying out some more of that fat social security cash that My Big Fat Greek Wedding enjoyed.

Yes, I'm sounding like Joel Siegel here, but I simply loved this film. It's quite honestly a great time from end to end. I honestly can't think of a negative in this film, and my therapist will tell you I'm a pretty negative guy.

Dummy is every bit as great as The Pianist, while being on the polar opposite end of the emotional scale. As a film to just immerse yourself in, laugh out loud at and get a little 'aaw, that's sweet' buzz from now and then, Dummy is an experience that should be on our screens and in our mindset for a long time.

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