What do you get when you mix a modern, non-religious Jewish family, siblings who live at home, a ventriloquist dummy, and an Oscar winning actor?
Sandy Chertok Reviews “Dummy” starring Adrien Brody.
What do you get when you mix a modern, non-religious Jewish family, siblings who live at home, a ventriloquist dummy, and an Oscar winning actor? You get the independent film, “Dummy,” starring Adrien Brody that hits theater on September 12 (limited release). This quirky family drama is a nice break away from the typical Hollywood family drama.
“Dummy” is about a shy young man named Steven (Brody), who is at a crossroad in his life. He still lives at home with his sister (Illeana Douglas) and his parents (Ron Leibman and Jessica Walter). His real passion in life is to become and find work as a ventriloquist. The film depicts his journey of trying to realize his dream and, at the same time, try to find love. The film also contains subplots about his sister and best friend, Fangora (Milla Jovovich), who are on their own journeys of trying to live out or stray away from their own dreams and happiness.
Within the film, there are a number of Jewish aspects that director and writer Greg Pritkin includes in the story. Steven comes from a non-religious Jewish family. Jessica Walter portrays the mother as a typical Jewish mother caretaker. She loves making blintzes and any type of meal for her family (even if it’s not requested) and worries that her daughter will never get married. The viewer also sees the family partake in a Friday night dinner with brisket beef and gefilte fish in what appears to be a non-religious Sabbath dinner meal. However, in my opinion, the Jewish highlight of the film is the exposure of Klezmer music in the film to the audience in a fun and light manner. Fangora has a band and has to learn how to play and sing various Klezmer music songs in order to get booked at
a Jewish wedding. The learning process and final product are done in a manner that all audiences will be amused and entertained.
“Dummy” is a quirky film that is touching at times. The performances are top notch and the story contains themes that are universal. So if you’re in the mood for something different and entertaining try and catch “Dummy” in the theaters this Fall.
Sandy Chertok is currently producing the short film “It’s All Relative”. Her comedy screenplay “That Kiss” advanced to the second round of the Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition. Other recognision include: a finalist in the 1999 Chesterfield Writer’s Project Fellowship, finalist in the NBC sponsored Writer’s Foundation America’s Best Original Sitcom Competition for her pilot “For Pete’s Sake,” and quarterfinalist in the Quantum Quest and Cinestory screenplay contests. She received her BFA with honors from New York University.