Review: A Thousand Words
PLOT: A fast-talking literary agent (Eddie Murphy) who's trying to sign a famous self-help guru, is pricked by a magical tree. As a result, each word he says results in a leaf falling from the tree. When the tree is empty- he dies. A comedy.
REVIEW : I give up. Honestly, I've had it with Eddie Murphy. Other than maybe Adam Sandler and Tyler Perry, is there another actor out there who's made this many bad films, but still manages to get work? Even crazier- unlike Perry and Sandler, nobody even goes to see his movies anymore! So why are we still getting crappy comedy after crappy comedy- more often than not, directed by Brian Robbins- whose filmography reads more than a wrap sheet than a list of credits. After MEET DAVE and NORBIT, you'd think these guys would have figured it was time to call it quits.
To be fair to Murphy, who a few months ago, seemed to be working on a comeback (he was funny in TOWER HEIST, and almost hosted the Oscars)- this is a leftover from an earlier, shittier period in his career. Shot way back in 2008, A THOUSAND WORDS was rightly deemed unreleasable, and it's sat on the shelf- until now. How bad is it really? Well, in ninety-one minutes, I can honestly say that I didn't crack a smile once. It was about as funny as getting kicked in the balls by a stranger- which, in a way, isn't all that different from paying for a ticket to see one of Murphy's comedies nowadays.
The premise is typically “high concept” meaning it might seem clever on paper, but is totally unable to sustain a film. It's written by Steve Koren- who's also penned similarly high-concept, and totally unfunny comedies like BRUCE ALMIGHTY (staggeringly bad despite it's success), and CLICK (ditto). Nicolas Cage and French actor Alain Chabat (who makes a spectacularly unfunny cameo) are listed as producers- so I guess this proves that Cage- despite his bad run, managed to avoid starring in at least one train wreck.
What's really weird about A THOUSAND WORDS, is that you've got to wonder who Murphy thought he was making this film for. There's no kid sidekick (he on-screen child is still in diapers, and barely registers), and the PG-13 and occasional F-bomb (well- maybe one) means this probably wasn't for the DADDY DAY CARE crowd, but this is nowhere near edgy enough to be entertaining to any of his older fans. Murphy's performance is typically lazy, and by-the-numbers, although he probably gets an easier time than usual as at least he didn't have to memorize too much dialogue.
Clark Duke, as his ne'er do-well assistant seems really embarrassed here- especially with his constant, clueless mugging. Ditto poor Kerry Washington- who's got to be one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, reduced to playing Murphy's clueless wife (although with a new TV show on the way, and a juicy part in DJANGO UNCHAINED- her career is on an upswing), although at least she get to ogle her in some sexy lingerie. The only person in this who comes close to registering is Ruby Dee as Murphy's Alzheimer’s affected mom, although the clumsy attempts to tug at the heartstrings with this subplot fall flat.
Probably the only nice thing that I can say about A THOUSAND WORDS is that it's marginally better than NORBIT- which stands as probably one of the most racist films to come out of Hollywood in the last decade (yellowface, really?). At least this isn't offensive- except for the fact that it's an utter waste of money, and that no one involved seems to be trying. Oh wait, I guess that is offensive after all. A THOUSAND WORDS is shit, shit, shit- and if Murphy ever wants to recapture a piece of his former glory (not to mention his dignity) he has to do a whole lot better than this. This should have never seen the light of day, but I guess the same thing can be said for pretty much every movie Murphy's done in the last decade.
|Extra Tidbit:||There was one other guy in the theater, who spent the entire film laughing like Robert De Niro in CAPE FEAR.|