A Thousand Words
A Thousand Words
By Wilson Morales
After a mild comeback with 2011’s Tower Heist, where he took a supporting role to Ben Stiller and an Oscar hosting gig which he later rejected, many wondered if the old Eddie Murphy would reemerged on the screen and be the funniest guy on the planet as he once was.
Unfortunately, sometimes the past comes back to haunt you and Murphy has to find other ways to reinvent his career. A far cry from the Oscar winning silent film The Artist, Murphy’s A Thousand Words is sadly still one too many for an audience to take in.
Murphy play Jack McCall, a successful and pompous literary agent who not only pays little attention to his wife (played by Kerry Washington) and son, but has little regard for his mom (played by Ruby Dee), who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.
When the chance to land a major client like spirit guru Dr. Sinja comes knocking Jack’s way, he wastes no time in sending his assistant (Clark Duke) to snap up the rights to his latest book without reading it.
When Jack mocks the importance of words and what Dr. Sinja is about, a mysterious Bodhi tree pops up in his back yard. Dr. Sinja tells him that a leaf falls off for every word he utters. With only a thousand words given to him, he has to make them count otherwise he dies when they all fall off.
Being cognizant of the amount of words he has left hasn’t doesn’t go so well for McCall as his lack of communication starts to interfere in his work and home. He also can’t write words to tell others what’s happening. With time running out the words Jack chooses to say must must have enough impact for him to stay alive otherwise his life is over.
The film was completely back in 2008. and held in the can for that long period of time. For that reason alone, you just know the writing is on the wall.
It’s not like the film had to go through studio changes like the upcoming former MGM now Lionsgate horror film The Cabin in the Woods or delayed due to reshoots and additional technically work like the Tuskagee airmen film Red Tails.
The film is directed by Brian Robbins, who unfortunately also directed Murphy in two critically panned films with ‘Meet Dave,’ and ‘Norbit’. The third time is not the charm. Murphy’s voice is what he’s best at and to keep him silent for a majority of the film is a disservice to him and the audience. While he does have a knack of making one laugh with just facial expressions, it didn’t crack a smile here. Also, there are plenty of wasted performances by Kerry Washington, Allison Janney, and John Witherspoon. The legendary Ruby Dee has at least one poignant scene.
Overall, if you waited long enough for the film to come out, then you can wait a bit longer for it to appear on TV for free.