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Case Number 18894: Small Claims Court

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I'm No Dummy

Vivendi Visual Entertainment // 2009 // 86 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 13th, 2010

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson is no dummy. A fool, yes. But no dummy.

The Charge

Sometimes you just need to vent.

Opening Statement

A documentary on ventriloquists. Just what the world was clamoring for?

Facts of the Case

So what's the deal with ventriloquists? What kind of person makes his living by standing up in front of strangers with a puppet on his hand, struggling to pronounce the letters M or P through clenched jaws?

I'm No Dummy strives to answer that question.

The Evidence

Let's cut right to it, okay? I had very little interest in this documentary and left the viewing experience thoroughly bored. It's not that I hate ventriloquists or anything. Quite the opposite. A good ventriloquism comedy act can translate into loads of gut laughs, and I've seen my fair share. It's just once you dig into the craft and the history of the art form, as I'm No Dummy does, the allure wears off quickly and you're left with a bunch of interviews with people and their puppets. And some vintage Ed Sullivan footage.

The caveat to that reaction is an obvious one: if you're a fan of the craft and even envision yourself as someone who would one day like to be gainfully employed in the field of ventriloquism (puppeteer, presidential advisor, etc.), I reckon you'll get a lot more out of the film than I did. Yes that's kind of a hack observation, but it's true. You like dummies? Then you'll probably like this Dummy.

For a larger audience, I don't think this will fly. The execution is simplistic, the music cheesy, the interviews not terribly interesting (though I am impressed by the skills of the spotlighted ventriloquists), the history is ho-hum and the dummies-in-action footage isn't as uproarious as it should have been.

And while the aspiring professionals may get more out of the ventriloquist mythology, there aren't a ton of how-to tips to be found. I suppose it's the magicians-never-reveal-the-secret code, just the dummy version.

The DVD: a nice-looking 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with some of the film's participants.

Closing Statement

I'm No Dummy didn't really do it for me, but aficionados can grade it on a curve.

The Verdict

Where's Franklin when you need him?

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 68

Perp Profile

Studio: Vivendi Visual Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Comedy
• Documentary

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurette
• Interviews


• IMDb

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