Eye For Film >> Movies >> Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity (2007) Film Review
It might be easy to dismiss Jeff Dunham as “just a ventriloquist” but it would be a mistake. He is a fine stand-up comedian as well as a very gifted ventriloquist.
Dunham sets up his puppets with a stand-up routine that pokes a good deal of fun at himself and his family and this allows the puppets to then appear and respond to observations he has already made, often with hilarious results.
I am sure everyone will have their favourites, but it is not hard to see why Walter and Achmed, the dead terrorist, have become such icons – Walter as the archetypal no-nonsense, straight speaking grumpy old codger and Achmed with his ironic chorus of: “Silence! I kill you” .
I found Dunham’s other characters less successful, even thoughJalapeno (who came to the US "by stick") and Peanut are some of his oldest puppets. There are moments, too, when the humour is tailored to his American audience, so some jokes do not travel so well, but that is a small quibble. No doubt characters, such as Melvin, will grow as he comes into his "super powers", but bear in mind, as we learn from the short film on this character included as an extra on the DVD, that he was only invented three months before this show was filmed. Up to weeks before, he still did not have his body or his super hero costume, even though Dunham had already started to experiment with the voice that he would have, and he brings the puppet to life, to great effect.
In 2008, 6.6 million tuned in to watch Dunham’s Christmas special and he became the highest grossing us comedian that year by earning $19.2 million. This tells you that he really is good, so treat yourself, watch this dvd and prepare to laugh till your sides hurt.Reviewed on: 20 Apr 2009