A Thousand Words
Running Time: 91 minutes
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Clark Duke, Kerry Washington, Allison Janney, Cliff Curtis
Directed By: Brian Robbins
Rating: 1.5 out of 10
A man must change his lying ways as his lifeline is attached to a tree in his yard. He has only a thousand words left before he dies so he must use them wisely.
I have been almost exclusively watching horror and thrillers in a lead up to Halloween so I decided I needed a break. Mainly because I can’t be doing myself any favors psychologically by watching so much blood being spilled. So to relax I threw this movie into the Blu-ray player for a little light hearted comedy. Damn you Eddie Murphy, fool me once with a bad comedy then shame on you. Fool me 13 times with a bad comedy then shame on me. A Thousand Words is the story of literary agent Jack McCall. After lying to a spiritual guru Jack finds a tree on his property. He is connected to this tree with a 1000 leaves and for every word Jack utters a leaf falls off. If all the leaves fall off then Jack dies.
I think somewhere in a beautiful mansion in a cigar smoke filled room sits a poker table. Surrounding this poker table are four very ornate and antique wooden chairs. On those chairs sit Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, and Eddie Murphy. They are laughing and having the time of their lives as they have a running bet with each other. The bet is who can make the worst comedy and still bring in millions of dollars. I don’t have an answer for you on who the winner is but these four guys are starting to get to me. I had high hopes for this movie for it meant we were only going to hear Eddie Murphy speak around a thousand words. I should have known better. The film starts and we are introduced to the painfully obvious and obnoxious literary agent Jack McCall. He lies and cheats to get his way and make money. A scene where he pretends his wife is in labor to bypass a Starbucks line is as entertaining as this film ever gets. The film really doesn’t commence until he is linked to the tree. Not only can Jack not say more than a thousand words he also feels everything that happens to the tree. So of course things like squirrels playing in the trees branches tickle Jack, and the tree is sprayed for bugs which makes Jack high. Lots of things happen to the tree and I can tell you none of them are funny.
Jack McCall is played by Eddie Murphy and I can honestly say he didn’t make me laugh even once. Not only is his performance stale and forced it is downright uncomfortable to watch. He of course mimes his way through situations with his wife and at work and most viewers will not even crack a smile. His assistant Aaron is played by Clark Duke and he is the only redeeming thing about this movie. He is this awkward guy who gets to turn on his charm when Jack goes silent. Of course this leads him to blowing potential business deals with his funny street lingo confidence. Kerry Washington, Cliff Curtis, Allison Janney, and Jack McBrayer are all in this also if you are fans of theirs.
The film is very hard to sit through. The pinnacle of the awfulness that is this film is offered up in a conference call where Jack brokers a deal using talking stuffed animals (No one questions the strange sounding voices and his catch phrase answers.) His married life and work life suffer as he cannot speak. So we are forced to sit through fights with Jack’s wife and meetings with his boss as he sits there stupidly in silence. They of course lead to misunderstandings that need to be resolved by Jack as he tries to figure out how to break the link with the tree. As the end comes about it is highly predictable and yet I felt it was touching so it was probably my favorite part of the whole film. Bottom line is the film tests the viewer with Murphy’s stupid facial mannerisms and tired slapstick. I even found when the tree was dropping its leaves annoying.
Director Brian Robbins just likes making awful movies with Eddie Murphy as the lead (Meet Dave, Norbit.) He takes a truly unfunny Steve Koran script and he punishes the viewer with it. This films content hovers between a restricted rating and its PG-13 rating not really appealing to either age range. He failed on virtually every scene that was supposed to be funny. The only thing he did right was casting Clark Duke. This was truly an awful film.
I cannot recommend this film as even when Eddie Murphy has a limited speaking role he can kill a movie.
T Factor + If you like Eddie Murphy as an actor this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you like more risqué humor than this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Liar Liar, The Invention of Lying.