I have seen other movies since I last posted, but they were Exodus: Gods and Kings and Sand and Sunburn and Boredom and The Hobbit: This Movie Has Tons of Hot Dudes, No, Seriously, Tons, and no one needs to hear my views about them, because the Internet has a lot of views about them and I have tried pretty hard not to care too much.

So.  Dummy.  Steven (Adrien Brody) is really awkward. But not in the charming way. In the way that he needs a ventriloquist’s dummy to relate to people. So basically in the creepiest way possible. His mother (Jessica Walter) is controlling; his father (Ron Leibman) is obsessed with model ships; his sister Heidi (Illeana Douglas) is recently un-affianced and feels smothered. Into this mess is thrown Steven’s apparently best friend, Fangora (Milla Jovovich), who is sweary, loud, and in a metal band. Then Steven loses his job and goes to an employment counsellor/single mom named Lorena (Vera Farmiga) and…well, they fall in love or whatever.

That’s an impressive list of fairly real people (and there are a few more, as well). But the main takeaway from this movie is how amazingly 90s it feels. There’s the hair, of course, and then there’s the brutal naïveté. When, in the 90s, we faced difficult issues head-on, we did it with starry eyes and ill-fitting trousers. And, because we were so earnest, everything was fine.

Don’t get me wrong: this movie is bad. It doesn’t fully hang together (for instance, why does Lorena, who has evidently talked to another human being before, since she has a kid, want to spend a single second with Steven?), and parts of it are hard to watch for their aching soppiness (Lorena’s kid likes Steven because the dummy is like a brother; no, I am not joking). But if you’re in the mood for something that is trying to be a little weird and doesn’t fully succeed, this is the movie for you.

Stray notes:

  • Fangora’s metal band learns to play klezmer to help out Heidi’s wedding planning business. This is actually a thing that happens.
  • Jessica Walter is such a joy.
  • This may be the most clothing I’ve ever seen Milla Jovovich wear.

Director: Greg Pritikin
Rating: R
Length: 91 min.
Score: 2/5.

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