NewsBlaze search box Daily News header

A Thousand Words Film Review

By     get stories by email

Eddie Murphy Gives Audience the Silent Treatment in Ill-Conceived Sitcom

Whether starring in a buddy comedy (like Trading Places and 48 Hours), a kiddie flick (ala Nutty Professor and Dr. Dolittle), a standup concert (such as Raw and Delirious), or in an animated adventure as a donkey (Shrek) or a dragon (Mulan), Eddie Murphy's best movies have invariably featured him talking trash. Even his only Oscar-nomination (for Dreamgirls) came for playing a jive motor-mouth, a character ostensibly inspired by the equally-irrepressible James Brown.

Given the readily-identifiable thread running through that string of box-office hits, you really have to wonder how a project like A Thousand Words ever got off the ground. For, not only does the film fail to take advantage of Mr. Murphy's trademark loquacious tendencies, it actually goes to the opposite extreme by buttoning up his lips for most of the movie.

eddie
Photo: www.rottentomatoes.com
The studio might have suspected it had a lemon on its hands, since it let the picture sit on the shelf for four years before finally releasing it. In any case, the movie marks the third collaboration between Eddie and director Brian Robbins, along with Norbit and Meet Dave.

A Thousand Words revolves around a familiar anti-hero archetype, the backstabbing, corporate conniver sorely in need of an attitude readjustment. When we're introduced to Jack McCall (Murphy) at the point of departure, he's still a high-powered, Hollywood agent smugly sitting atop the showbiz food chain and living in the lap of luxury in a sprawling, mountaintop mansion with a pool and a view.

The insufferable bully takes pleasure in intimidating everyone he encounters: his sycophantic assistant (Clark Duke), his deferential spouse, Caroline (Kerry Washington), and perfect strangers to boot. But karma catches up with the Machiavellian manipulator the day he lies to land his latest client, a popular New Age guru (Cliff Curtis) who has just written a self-help book.

Abracadabra! A magical tree that sheds a leaf for every word Jack speaks suddenly materializes in his backyard. And so few leaves are left by the time he figures out that he will die when the last one hits the ground that he is left with no choice but to take a vow of silence.

Mute Jack is soon beset by a host of woes of Biblical proportions, including the loss of his job and the love of his wife and toddler Tyler (Emanuel Ragsdale). At this juncture, the picture turns to heavy-handed sermonizing in lieu of humor, as our humbled protagonist learns a big lesson about what really matters most in this world while on the road to redemption.

You know you're in trouble when an Eddie Murphy comedy's only funny line ("White people sho' is nice!") was spoiled by the trailer and isn't even delivered by Eddie, but by an aging vaudevillian (John Witherspoon) doing a cringe-inducing impersonation of Stepin Fetchit.

Makes The Adventures of Pluto Nash look like Beverly Hills Cop.

Poor (0 stars)

Rated PG-13 for PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and drug-related humor.

Running time: 91 minutes

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Trailer for A Thousand Words:

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze. Read more reviews by Kam Williams.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Rose sat down to talk about the Ross Katz directed bittersweet dramady, while finishing off an alfalfa burger and diving into an accompanying plate of fries.
And 'how the art world stopped thinking about inequality and learned to love the bling.'
Kevin James talks to Kam Williams about his role in the Paul Blart: Mall Cop sequel
Freida Pinto, born in Mumbai, India, showed an interest in acting early on, participating in community theater and school productions.
Romance, war, adventure, vengeance are some of the common themes for the new DVD releases of the week. The King of Masks and Like Sunday, Like Rain are two.
A schoolgirl humiliated by a classmate takes a humiliating revenge in return, then comes up with the idea of forming The Sisterhood, secret society for girls.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month


Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site