Ventriloquist becomes worldwide sensation in the most unlikely headline ever

Five continents make up Jeff Dunham’s worldwide road trip tour, stretching from Iceland to South Africa and United Arab Emirates. Four puppets make the trip – Walter, Peanut, Bubba Jay, and yes, Achmed – in a flurry of nationalist ventriloquism that is safely broad and then alarmingly dangerous.

Dunham’s localized routines are typically obvious. The Irish drink and Africans love lions, jokes plain enough that they don’t need explained to American audiences purchasing this disc. Snippets from each night are short, enough to be considered mere clips in some instances, leaving All Over the Map somewhat stunted; it’s hard to become too involved when this comedy/documentary travelogue is making enormous global leaps.

About halfway through, things turn. Arab countries laugh at themselves with Achmed, and Dunham ingeniously works around the Malaysian’s government insistence not to use the profitable dead terrorist. On screen, Dunham seems his most comfortable when he’s uncomfortable, whether ribbing under a tent in Dubai or risking gunfire in Kuala Lumpur. His slight edge, which stabs at cultural truisms with just a dash of raunchy language, proves a perfect counter to what appear to be safeguarded societies.

Elsewhere, Dunham travels through locations, occasionally putting together miniature performances for a few people. An English tea party with Walter is a short gem, and The Beatles museum brings a smile. These snippets are generally filler, a family vacation video if Bubba Jay can be considered part of his family.

All Over the Map barely breaks 80-minutes, which makes those recess segments abroad sting a touch more. They’re a replacement for the meat of Dunham’s routine. So much of it – too much – seems left to the live crowd to digest. If you leave wanting more, then maybe Dunham has done better than any of us realize. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Movie]

Talking to himself @ 51:35

With the best words of Walter, “Holy crap!” Filming conditions and filming equipment are everywhere for these many location shoots, ranging from IMAX-level exteriors to first generation iPhone interiors. Consistency is not something to expect.

Low resolution sources are DVD quality or worse, riddled with noise, banding, smearing, and false zooms that only enhance the issues. No amount of encoding effort from Paramount will save it. As a side note, Blu-ray compression does not appear to be adding to the problem.

At its peak, material is passable, cable-level with better bit rates. Resolution hits a stride, with excellent definition on the dummies in close. Stage lights pour on contrast, allowing fine detail to break from the norms of this disc. Even a handful of crowd shots break free, critical when Dunham begins targeting front rows.

Post-production work is nominal. Colors are left as-is. A few images appear to have been softened, possibly to hide various visual anomalies. It turns out All Over the Map is one of most accidentally appropriate titles ever for a Blu-ray. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Video]

All Over the Map comes with TrueHD 5.1 and compressed stereo. Differences are few. Usually on stand-up discs, crowds spread into the surrounds and the performer’s voice treks into the rears to best replicate acoustics. Not much happens here.

While dialog is better represented and placed in the TrueHD track, it otherwise feels identical. Crowds laugh and roar in the sides, with rears so quiet as to barely be noticeable. There is no sense of being in the middle of the show. Music snippets, proper to the visited country, are too brief to be of much consequence. Feels rushed or like an afterthought, although stand-up routines are not hotbeds for sonic immersion. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Audio]

Bonuses make up 16-minutes of content, the longest being the five minute Road to Scotland. Dunham sits on the tour bus as they make their way through the country, discussing the challenges of the trip in a short interview. Jeff Meets some Competition details a brief behind-the-scenes meeting with a young fan (and ventriloquist) in the making.

Malaysia Warning follows Dunham into a broadcast studio with a lively DJ who trains Dunham in how to avoid being censored. Making Jacques is the result of the latter, a slight alteration with Achmed which made him suitable for the show. Extreme Travel is more vacation-y stuff through the various temperatures Dunham endured. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Extras]

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For more information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.


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