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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Entertainment > Biography > History > Ventriloquism > I'm No Dummy (2009, 2015/MVD Visual DVD Set)

I'm No Dummy (2009, 2015/MVD Visual DVD Set)

Picture: B- Sound: B- Extras: B- Main Program: C+

Are you a fan of the art of ventriloquism? If so then you want to check out I'm No Dummy (2009), a documentary spanning the history of the art form and showcasing some of today's (and the artforms) most talented performers including Jeff Dunham, Jay Johnson, and Lynn Trefzger. The comic documentary examines and deconstructs this obscure art form through clips, photos and interviews with many of the greatest vents (what they call themselves in the industry) from today and yesterday as well as their iconic puppets that have been captivating audiences on stage and on screen for years.

The idea came to Director Bryan W. Simon while on a bike ride in Los Angeles, as he kicked around ideas for a new project and decided to focus on a documentary about something he loved as a child and something that may be borderline disturbing for some. The film was originally completed in 2009 (before Johnson's hit Broadway one man show, reviewed elsewhere on this site) and is now finding its way onto disc. This is a nice little release from MVD and I'm glad that they including the extra disc and went the extra mile.

The main stars are Jeff Dunham, Jay Johnson and Lynn Trefzger and this also features Kelly Asbury, Tom Ladshaw, Jimmy Nelson and Willie Tyler. Archival footage of Edgar Bergen (with Charlie McCarthy), Paul Winchell and Senor Wences is also included in the feature.

Some focus points of the documentary are the questions What is Ventriloquism, why do they do it? How do they master the art of not moving their lips? The humorous question of where do dummies go when die? Which features the only museum in the world that's dedicated to the art of ventriloquism known as the Vent Museum.

Presented in standard definition with an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. The two-disc set looks fine on DVD with optional English and French subtitles.

Extras are bountiful including over two hours of extras including Terry Fator and Winston and more from the Vent Haven Museum, Interview Outtakes with Jay Johnson, Jimmy Nelson, Willie Tyler and others. The film itself clocks in around 84 minutes.

This is a fun documentary on a subject that isn't explored too often and serves as more informational and a showpiece for the performers. If this subject interests you then this is definitely worth checking out. The re-playability for me is a little low, but fans will feel otherwise.

- James Harland Lockhart V



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