A Thousand Words (2012) Poster

(I) (2012)

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A Brutally Honest Review
Diet Bacon Cola29 June 2012
You will find reviews here using thousands of words in order to flame this movie, clearly they didn't understand it. You will know why after seeing it.

People are disappointed because they wanted to see an Eddy Murphy style comedy, the problem is this ain't a comedy it is a drama with a very good message. I loved Eddy Murphy in his first movies, he was a fast talking joke machine, he still is but the jokes are the same and comedy has moved on. For that matter I didn't like the comedy portion of this movie too much but I was deeply touched by the drama version. The solution to his problem is right in front of him and anyone who is willing to give this movie a fair chance will see it too and exactly this is what made the movie so strong because he is doing it all wrong and you want to scream at the screen and tell him what to do and how to do it.

In my opinion Eddy Murphy gave a partially brilliant performance. As I said I didn't enjoy the comedy too much, it was some sort of best of Eddy Murphy but when you are willing to accept that this is actually a drama and understand the comedy part as the metaphor that it is you will love this movie and maybe pull something valuable out of the message. For the concept of the message Eddy Murphy was the best possible actor for this role.
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Comedy okay, Message is good
rgkarim12 March 2012
Let's face it Eddy Murphy hasn't been making grade A movies over the past few years, at least none that matched his earlier films. So I can't help but admit that I was a little skeptical when I saw A Thousand Words advertised on T.V. To my surprise however, I was actually entertained with this picture, and even more surprised by the serious message present in this film. So sit back, relax, and read more about Eddy Murphy's newest film A Thousand Words.

The movie basically starts out like any other movie he stars in with Eddy Murphy, playing Jack McCall, being involved in some busy career and the rest of his life is essentially put on hold. As usual, these opening scenes are filled with his classic crude humor, some of which was funny for me and some I had heard countless times before. Murphy's mouth is as filthy as ever, and those who love hearing him scream and curse will not be disappointed at the majority of his dialog at the beginning of the movie. However, things change when the guru Sinja (Cliff Curtis) is visited by McCall and the blood bond between a magical tree and McCall get his thousand word limit, where every word he speaks (and writes) results in a leaf falling off the tree. From this point onward, the comedy style takes a different path and involves a combination of funny dialog, situational comedy, and of course some funny gestures that made me chuckle. With a limited number of words at his disposable, the writers did a nice job picking the right words at the right moment. There were countless times I laughed as he said one or two words at just the right moment to have me laughing. Instead of Murphy saying most of the funny lines though, his apprentice Aaron (Clark Duke) provided most of the zingers. Duke manages to once again play the naïve, immature teenager who knows how to say the wrong things, at the wrong time, in the most awkward way possible. As a result it works, though it does get annoying after the fifth or sixth time. What was funnier for me however, were the comedic situations Murphy's character was forced to endure. A few charade scenes, the escort of a blind man, and countless business meetings that required him to speak made me crack up at various points in the movie.

However, comedy is not the only thing this movie has to offer. A Thousand Words has a message built into it that really hit me deep down. Now revealing this message would ruin a lot of things about this movie, so I can't tell you what it is. The way they presented the message is free game though, and quite well done. I applaud the director's brilliant technique of building up the tension in the movie using temporary lulls in the comedy to develop the situation. When the limit is reached however, the group manages to capture the emotions with a combination of fitting music, great camera angles, and just the right balance of screen time to capture the actor's emotion. Murphy surprised me with how serious a role he can play and I admit there were one or two times I nearly teared up. Yes there were points where this movie was a little preachy and cheesy, but overall it tugged at my heart strings and made me really appreciate what they had to say. However, it's up to you to see the movie and see if the message affects you the same way.

Overall, A Thousand Words is a decent comedy, not the best or the crudest mind you, but still decent. The nice balance of drama and comedy, on top of some good character development and clever use of props and the environment were very entertaining for me. Yes, it's the same predictable Eddie Murphy movie you have seen in the past, but it's finally getting back to his comedic roots, while still providing some dynamic emotion that I haven't seen him do in a while. Is it worth a trip to the theater? Well for comedy not really, you can get the fun laughs just as well at home. However, the strong spiritual message this movie offers I think is worth a trip, but that's just me. Regardless here are the scores:

Comedy: 6.0 Movie Overall: 7.0

So as always enjoy the movies my friends and tune in next week for a review on 21 Jump Street.
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A more mature comedy from Eddie Murphy
gonzoville15 June 2012
I have to assume that the people who rated this one below a 5 were expecting the standard slapstick fare. This isn't going to go down as a classic film, but it kind of picks up from "Holy Man" from 1998 in that the movie is about an unexpected encounter causing someone to re- evaluate and embrace their life.

Murphy does a pretty good job straddling comedic and dramatic acting. It's more like one or the other rather than both in the same scene, but it's not bad. The supporting cast is pretty good as well. The writing is decent enough.

What made me give this a 7 instead of a 6 is the ending. You pretty much know what's coming - that Murphy's character will resolve the issues which keep him from being happy. But the last 8 minutes or so are just really well done. Murphy's warmth really shines and you can't help but smile. And for that ending, I gave it an extra star.

Put this in the "feel-good comedy" category.
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What's Up With the Negative Reviews??
Shawn17 June 2012
I cannot understand why someone would rate this so poorly and call it "an abomination" of a film. These people must like to watch depressing or utter brain dead movies, over heart warming, feel good movies.

Granted this film is not perfect, there are definitely some unnecessary and quite stupid scenes, but this does not detract from the overall moral of the story which makes a powerful philosophical point - a point we must all contemplate.

Eddie Murphy is his funny usual self and the rest of the cast do a great job. Also the cinematography is excellent with some remarkable scenes.

I highly recommend this movie for anyone looking for a meaningful movie. A must watch for all who are positive.

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Eddie Murphy still makes me laugh...even in something like A Thousand Words
tavm29 March 2012
I've been an Eddie Murphy fan since I first saw him on "Saturday Night Live" back in 1980. I've laughed at most of his stuff on TV and movies most of that time. I haven't seen everything he's done but what I've seen I've mostly enjoyed. So it is that I indeed enjoyed this knowing many of the things he does and says in this movie can be quite either silly or stupid but what can I say, I still find him very funny. And Clark Duke who plays his assistant also got plenty of laughs from me especially when he does his version of a street smart person. I also found Kerry Washington appealing as his wife and Ruby Dee as his mother nicely playing someone who seems to live in the past since she keeps mistaking her son for her since-abandoned husband. I thought Allison Janney was wasted as his boss, however. Oh, and I also loved the comic chemistry between him and Jack McBrayer as a Starbucks employee. In summary, A Thousand Words is no great shakes, but it was still entertaining enough for me.
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Eddie's Best Effort in some time....
witster1814 July 2012
Eddie has been involved in a lot of crap since the release of "Raw". It's almost as if he felt a debt to society and his family to start making cheesy, family films. The results have been under-whelming to say the least.

This is Eddie's best film in many years. The plot is ridiculous as with much of what he's been associated with of late, but Eddie is on top of his game here. This film is right up there with Eddie's best over the last 2 decades WHICH ISN'T saying much, but it does make it worth the price of admission at the very least. That's to say it's nearly as good as "The Nutty Professor" or "Boomerang", but a clear notch above films like "Bowfinger" and "Norbit".

He's genuinely funny here, but the script isn't all that funny overall. He carries much of the weight with his expressions and physical comedy.

The other saving grace is the heart of the film. The film does carry nice message, and tugs the heartstrings for those who make the time investment on this one.

I was surprised, but that might have had as much to do with my expectations as it did anything else.

I can marginally recommend this for those who like a light-hearted comedy.

Eddie still has it! He does! You get glimpses of it here. All us ole-timers are still waiting for him to tackle a great project with an "R" rating, but this film is far better than it's score here or anywhere else.

Not that I blame the audience - but it seems as if the reputation of Eddie making bad films has put a seriously negative spin on what is actually a decent little film here. Let's not trample on the guy.

My biggest gripe was with one particular scene where the CGI is over-blown and unnecessary but other than that, this film wasn't bad at all.

Scoring it exactly the same as another rental from yesterday, "Thin Ice", 65/100, and rounding it to 7. I don't feel bad about it either.

Not nearly as bad as I had anticipated.

You might like this if you liked: Yes Man(slightly better or even), The Nutty Professor(slightly better or even), and Bruce Almighty(slightly better).
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1,000 words to utter before you depart or about the life in its near end.
Perfectionisbeauty14 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Have you ever thought which words were the most important and quintessential in our life - "I love you", "Thank you", "Forgive me"? Did you count them? In fact, the words you transmit are so relevant that they are the key "to open the doors" in our life.

Kahlil Gibran said that "all our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind."

Emily Dickinson wrote: "A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day."

Nathaniel Hawthorne stated that "words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become, in the hands of one who knows how to combine them".

Winston Churchill was confident when saying "You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police. Yet in their hearts there is unspoken - unspeakable! - fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts! Words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home, all the more powerful because they are forbidden. These terrify them. A little mouse - a little tiny mouse! - of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic."

At last I've watched this "A Thousand Words" with Eddie Murphy. I did like the idea. There's a powerful message in the last 15-20 minutes of the movie which is on the whole a combination of comedy, rather a farce of rude words and thoughtless actions in the first half, and a serious meditation over the sense of life and meaningful words in the second one. What was the conception? Suppose you get to know that every word you say can become the last one. So you think before it to what to say or be silent. One realizes that words are countable and can not be wasted. Only the words that are crucial and urgent ought to be uttered. The words you hadn't say yet. To your mother, family, people. And you shall say these words even if you know that every single word will near you to death. You regret you haven't done it when there was a plenty of time and now there is only a limit of words that shorten this time to zero as you are in Zeitnot. Perhaps Eddie Murphie wasn't that good in the movie, perhaps it would have been better to have Jim Carrey in it to continue his protagonist of "Liar, Liar" and "Yes-Man" hilarious in their form but thought-provoking in their matter movies. However, the movie is worth seeing.

Lord Byron's (1788-1824) last word was "Goodnight".
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Thoughtful Lowbrow Spiritual Comedy
bebop60318 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was reminiscent of Eddies Murphy's "Trading Places" for me. It's kind of a modern fable/comedy/light social commentary. In both movies, Murphy's character is a successful businessman who is a little lost personally and spiritually (which is an immediately recognizable sensation for almost anyone at some point in their lives). External, and vaguely spiritual forces intervene (in the Case of Trading places, 2 bosses who take their roles from God and Satan from the story of Job) and in the case of 1000 words, this external force takes the form a new- age spiritual guru played by Cliff Curtis. New-age spiritual guru roles are traditionally played for laughs, but Curtis displays some comedic- inspired subtle turns here and the film overall displays a surprising sensitivity towards spiritual matters in general. As in trading places, Murphy's character has problems to overcome, difficult decisions to make, and ultimately has the chance to complete a personal and spiritual transformation of his own.

The writing is not Oscar-worthy and at times low-brow but (at least to me) frequently hilarious--especially in scenes where Murphy's silence draws people in to saying things about themselves they really weren't intending to. As in other Murphy movies, there is some gentle social commentary and nerdy white people are often played for laughs--Murphy's assistant is especially hilarious as he inverts the common logic of the uncool/uptight white guy at times to assume a "gangsta" persona to take over Murphy's job duties while Murphy can only watch, wide-eyed, as the silent straight man.

This film ultimately won me over with it's good-natured, intelligent, writing and acting. Comedy bits, while while often off-color, never steer into the clichéd or mean-spirited. Don't go in expecting too much and you might leave the theater with a warm, if slightly fuzzy, spiritual feeling of you own.
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Comedy with a profound message
Gordon-116 March 2014
This film tells a successful but arrogant literary agent who has only a thousand words left to speak before he dies.

I was surprised by how good "A Thousand Words" was. It successfully mixes comedy with a truly profound message. The comedy aspect shows Eddie Murphy's upbeat side, and he even imitates to be a bird. Even if he can be annoying at times in the film, his connection with the dying tree still strikes me as very thought provoking. It is sad that much of his words are wasted, which gives Jack and the viewers a chance to reflect on what is truly important in life. I find this incredibly touching. It's unusual for a comedy to have such a profound message, but "A Thousand Words" does it so well.
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The mood is rather muddied and the laughs are never big.
GoneWithTheTwins9 March 2012
A Thousand Words starts off like a typical Eddie Murphy film, utilizing his expected blend of physical slapstick, mile-a-minute chatter, and wild-eyed contortionist facial expressions. The humor is derived almost entirely from awkward communications between Murphy and his acquaintances. But when the plot is well under way and the predicament becomes serious, the film takes a turn toward a sentimental, emotional drama, where the hero must right his wrongs and make amends with his past. It's as if the script was already in place, Murphy signed on, then rewrites shaped the movie into a vehicle for his unmistakable style (it probably doesn't help that filmmaker Brian Robbins also directed Meet Dave and Norbit). While the result is certainly not unwatchable, the mood is rather muddied and the laughs are never big.

Jack McCall (Eddie Murphy) is a literary agent for the Apogee company, using his signature rapid-fire articulation to negotiate moneymaking deals. His sights are set on the "New Age crap" of Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis), whose philosophies and teachings are attracting crowds greater than those of Miley Cyrus concerts. It's a spiritual movement and McCall wants to be the one to sign the guru to a highly profitable new book deal. Shortly after his encounter with Sinja, Jack discovers that a Bodhi tree has sprouted in his back yard and that it sheds leaves quite rapidly – one for every word he utters. Mysteriously, the trunk has a magical connection to the agent's body, preventing Jack from chopping it down. The calm, watchful, pie-eating sage hypothesizes that when the woody perennial drops its last leaf, McCall will die.

There's a glaring error early on that is so blatant it's hard to ignore it. The major plot gimmick relies on McCall desperately not wanting to talk. When he writes a note to his sleeping wife, each written word also causes a leaf to fall. Infuriated, he flips off the tree, which results in an identical reaction. As soon as it's defined that a crude gesture affects the tree in the same manner as talking, the whole idea falls apart. Every subsequent effort taken by Jack to communicate is through some sort of expressive movement, whether it be a frantic form of Charades, furious countenance spasms, or tempestuous howling. Yet the tree doesn't lose foliage to these commotions. If the movie played by its own rules, he would be dead by the end of the day.

Even if the inherent silliness of the story can be brushed aside, the uncertainty with which the fantasy unfolds is disheartening. Strong messages of spirituality, examining the importance of words, miscommunication, forgiveness, being true to oneself, taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of life, and accepting inner peace are temporarily poignant, but interfere with the initial onslaught of jokes. While it's a fun premise with clement humor (and a few smartly indelicate gags by Clark Duke as McCall's dimwitted assistant, who proves a favorably contrasting comedic counterpart for Murphy), it can only end one way – with overly formulaic contrivances sorting out the dilemmas of a man trapped in the structure of conventional relationships and success.

  • The Massie Twins (GoneWithTheTwins.com)
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It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but it was close!
TxMike12 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
So why, some may ask, did I see this movie if I thought it wasn't going to be very good? I generally like Eddie Murphy, ever since his Beverly Hills Cops days, and I figured there would be some entertainment value, and there is. I also got it as a "free" DVD rental from my public library.

Eddie Murphy is motor-mouth Jack McCall who by his own admission can sell just about any idea to anybody. He makes his living buying rights to books, but never reads them, he has an assistant for that. Plus, he thinks if the first 5 pages are good, and the last 5 pages are good, then the book is a winner.

Pretty Kerry Washington (16 years younger) is his wife Caroline McCall . They have a cute new baby and it seems to be getting time for Jack to settle down a bit more. This isn't the cause of Jack's eventual problem, but it exacerbates his task.

Jack is after a well-known guru and wants to publish his book, a book Jack says he read and loves but in truth has never seen. "Honesty" is all relative with Jack, and usually it is relatively unimportant. Somehow, and we don't really know how, since the guru claims no responsibility, this medium-sized tree suddenly springs up out of the ground in Jack's back yard. It makes such a commotion that at first Jack thinks it is an Earthquake. But the tree is magical, it IS Jack, when he tries to chop it down Jack gets the ax mark on his hip.

The most obvious feature is, Jack notices quickly, for every word Jack says a leaf falls off. When he finally gets the guru there to examine the situation, they estimate the tree only has 1000 leaves left, so Jack has about 1000 words left, then the tree and he will both die.

So that is the whole premise and the movie is either funny or not funny depending on how Jack handles each situation, not being able to talk and not really being able to explain his situation.

I was entertained, there is a core of message there, of being true to yourself and those important to you, wife, children, parents, friends. But overall not a particularly good movie.

SPOILERS: As Jack's tree gets closer to losing all its leaves, and Jack's attempts to reverse the process by doing "good works" fails, he resigns to the tree and he dying. So he uses his last few words to comfort his mom and to tell his wife he would love her forever. That turns out to be his redemption, he dies as the tree dies, but both are quickly reborn, a healthy tree and a healthy Jack, destined to be a better person. Sort of a 'Groundhog Day' type of salvation.
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Simply beautiful
pviser2722 June 2012
An amazing blend of comedy, spiritual lesson to life and array of expressive acting style in the movie. Its for those who still love a comedy in its purest form of expression and meaning. you will be laughing for a reason and not at a poor joke or cuss word or bad vocabulary or sad sarcasm on some one as a character of the movie. highly recommend it to a more sober crowd with sense of maturity. Well directed and well performed by the entire cast and crew. A must watch for teens too. Silence is a gift relish it. thanks for reading, enjoy -- extra Lines to fill in the comment thanks -- extra Lines to fill in the comment thanks
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Action Man14 March 2012
Absolute rubbish film! Yet another turkey from Eddie Murphy. This and Adam Sandler's Jack & Jill should be condemned to movie oblivion. Both cost millions and millions and for what? Surely Hollywood could use that money for much better films that funding stupid boring trash like this. Has Eddie ever really been funny? Well, there was Trading Places, Beverley Hills Cop and Coming To America - but they were in the 80s!! His endless slew of "family" films have been truly dreadful. Why oh why do Hollywood execs keep funding Eddie Murphy films??? Who watches them? Who exactly are these Eddie Murphy fans? Are they all brain-dead zombies who think Murphy opening his eyes wide and looking surprised is the height of hilarity? This film is just another reason why Murphy should stop making films all together. He can't act, he's not funny. Him and Adam Sandler should be marooned on a desert island together. The pits!
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andrew78214 June 2012
It goes without saying that Eddie Murph hasn't been at his best since Beverley Hills Cop. This movie changes that. Apart from a little of his over the top comedy, this is a real tear jerker. It is very much like Click in that it makes the viewer think about his life, how they treat others and just how much of our life is wasted. Well acted, well conceived and a great heart warming movie that men and women can enjoy. My wife loved it, I loved it. More like this please. Try not to pick a at little details of 'how' but enjoy the 'why' Great movie. 9/10 best movie i've seen this year! Bring tissues and popcorn, turn down the lights (so the missus can't see the tears ;)
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Not Even A Thousand Words Would Make This A Winner
patsworld9 March 2012
This movie could have been a winner – much like The Golden Child – for Eddy Murphy. The premise for this film could have gone there – mystical, imaginative...the plot line lent itself to such success. However, rather than using Murphy's awesome comedic talent, the makers of this picture resorted to reducing him to grimaces, hideous facial contortions – none of which were amusing at all. Granted there was a reason in the movie for Murphy's character not to be able to talk for awhile, but he could easily have performed versions of charades, used eye rolls and raised eyebrows and brought the house down. However, that didn't happen. It was all over the top and not funny at all. The only character in this picture to do justice to his part was Clark Duke playing Murphy's assistant. This wasn't enough to make the film a success. Such a waste and frankly, I'm rather tired of being disappointed when I go to the movies. Especially to an Eddy Murphy film. I expect more.
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Loved the concept
Kartik8 May 2013
The central idea of the movie, a magical tree with its life linked to that of Jack, that dies when Jack speaks a thousand words, thus forcing him to think hard before he says anything, forcing him to be predominantly quiet from a boisterous agent, is not only unique but also endearing.

The movie refrains from any slapstick comedy which has become characteristic of Eddie Murphy. It was this I was fearing the most and did not watch the movie for more than a couple of months even after downloading it.

It leaves you with these thoughts: are you introspecting enough? are you in touch with who you really are? do you know what makes you happy, or are you just going through the motions of life, doing what you believe the society respects and your family wants from you.

Maturely handled, the movie refrains from being self-help and sermonizing. It has a power packed messaged, wrapped in the capsule of entertaining fiction.

Easily one of the better Murphy movies.
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Deeply Touching and Meaningful
erick-327-86387925 March 2012
I think it's time the truth is told. Eddie Murphy not talking for half of the movie or using words selectively perhaps was the exact point of the movie. Quiet within will reveal the truth, and in its own unique way the movie did express this. This movie is about inspiration NOT information, the truth this movie was pointing out was to dive in within, release pain from the past and bring out the love that we are. It's about letting go of the fake(illusion) to gain mastery of the universal Truth within us and share this Truth with everyone. Our family quiet enjoyed this movie; it was funny and deeply meaningful at the same time. A must see for all who are ready for it.
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Good Message_Destroyed in Lousy Movie Presentation
ladymoonpictures16 March 2012
Wow. So stupid. Blowing leaves 'out cho mouth'. Should've blown em' out his...well you get the push back here to such a stupid movie. Nothing wrong with the message - the importance of family really only thing that matters - over money and success, but so completely, painfully, ridiculously demonstrated in a non sensical plot idea and childish, unfunny Murphy-mannerisms that really pushes ones limits in not walking out on this...bad, and I mean pap-bad movie presentation. The ending makes the point about these important things of life, but getting there is about as painful of a movie watching experience that you'll suffer for quite some time. Note too, that I didn't resort to being too cruel here and completely sarcastic, like one might feel as revenge for watching this movie. This movie simply does not deliver.
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A bland sea of contrivance and shallow morals
Steve Pulaski10 March 2012
The first half hour of A Thousand Words is giddy, upbeat, and very funny as Eddie Murphy's typical schtick of farce tactics and crude, off-the-wall dialog comes into play. This makes us approach the film's real conflict with increasing dread as we learn that Murphy's character will be punished with death if he says more than a thousand words.

I'll catch you up. Murphy plays Jack McCall, a loquacious literary agent who uses his voice to strike book deals for his company, and sadly somewhat neglects his wife and kid. He becomes intrigued with the work of Dr. Sinja (Curtis), whose teachings and philosophies have attracted immense crowds of people. During a discussion with Sinja at one of his many spiritual relaxation classes about striking a possible deal, Jack pricks his finger on a Bodhi tree. Upon returning home, a tree of the same kind spouts in his backyard occupying many, many leaves.

Jack calls Sinja over to his house to ask him why he put the tree here, but Sinja states that he had nothing to do with it. It isn't before long that Sinja notices whenever Jack speaks, leaves fall off the tree. What happens when trees lose their leaves? They die. And that's, supposedly, what will happen to Jack. It's amazing how unclear this scene is. Just because the tree will lose all of its leaves and die eventually, how does Sinja know that will happen to Jack? Also, Sinja makes a guess that there are a thousand leaves left on the tree. And, apparently, that's exactly how many there were.

The film's comedy stems from Jack not being able to talk, thus having to find ways to communicate with people around him. He can't write notes either. So, the only way he can get his point across is to mime or play charades with them. By far the funniest scene is when Jack is trying to strike a deal over the phone and resorts to talking action figures to speak for him. It isn't that he can't talk, it's just he is trying to conserve his words as much as possible. Also, this means that he can't, or maybe chooses not to, speak about twenty words or so to explain this mess to his wife. All he does is play stupid, clueless, and ignorant.

It is so crushing to not hear Murphy's motor-mouth during much of this film. This also greatly kills the film in the dialog field. When you limit Murphy vocally, you must rely on him physically. His facial expressions work well, sometimes, but other times, like during the recurring Starbucks scenes, the antics become labored and ordinary. If you can't really imagine the idea of Murphy playing a character who is limited in his dialog, try to imagine a silent film made by Kevin Smith.

A Thousand Words also strangely parallels with the film Click, with Adam Sandler, both written by Steve Koren. In Click, Sandler was a workaholic father, hellbent on completing a project with no time for his kids or wife, who finds a life-altering device that allows him to control his life and greatly limit it. He uses it frequently and his life becomes more and more out of control, before finally reaching the somewhat heartbreaking and depressing climax. The premise is not too far off from A Thousand Words, only Murphy's blockade isn't the excessive use of a device, but his own voice.

The film throws in "blink and you miss it" type morals like form some sort of respect for spirituality, appreciate life, choose words wisely, etc. None of the morals are very memorable or creative. By the end, we've become so annoyed with the contrivance of our immensely talented actor hardly able to speak we've become disinterested and careless.

Director Brian Robbins, of Good Burger and The Perfect Score, originally shot the film in 2008 and it sat in limbo up until 2012. That was right around the time Murphy was doing anything and everything with the crass, desperate mess of Norbit and the forgettable and overly obvious Meet Dave - both also directed by Robbins. A Thousand Words would've fit in perfectly with that lineup, but easily being the best of the three. Murphy continues to find himself neutered in many films. Either doing lame, uninspired comedies or dopey, barely mediocre kids film. He needs to find work that allows him to be himself, without distracting plot devices getting in the way of that. And occupying a character who hopefully says over a thousand words.

Staring: Eddie Murphy, Kerry Washington, Cliff Curtis, Clark Duke, and Allison Janney. Directed by: Brian Robbins.
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The best Eddie Murphy's movie in my humble opinion
nikolova-assya16 June 2012
I really am not a big Eddie Murphy's fan. Although I acknowledge he's one of the most talented comedians of our times. But I should say that he really nails this one. This is one of the best movies I've seen the last couple of months. Looking at the trailer you might sense a bit of cheesiness, but as familiar as it may look- the bachelor in family stereotype, the top salesman-with-issues poster boy, the whole spiritual journey crap this is a bloody good story, that reminds of a simple truth about life. We have this tendency of complicating our life, filling it with stuff - material and all sort of "viral" "on-line" eventing bullshit that we tend to think our problems can have only outrageously intricate and complex solutions which is mostly not the case. So I wholeheartedly recommend this nice, fresh and warm movie about the good and important things in life sprinkled with some very nice comedy touches and amazing role by Eddie the Murpfy and supporting actor's team. Enjoy!
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Don't Speak!
Chris_Pandolfi9 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
"A Thousand Words" is a film that strains mightily to be both funny and heartfelt but never manages to be either. And yet, like an underachieving high school student, I could see the potential. I just know that buried somewhere within this narrative catastrophe is a rich, complex fable with the power to register emotionally. The points are all there; what's missing is an appropriate, plausible way to make them. This could explain why the film was shelved after principal photography wrapped in 2008. The official reason for the delayed release is that it got lost in the shuffle when DreamWorks separated from Paramount and Viacom. While I have no doubt that this was a contributing factor, I can't help but feel that the film itself created a whole host of problems, ones the producers were worried couldn't be fixed. If this is the case, then it turns out they were right.

It tells the story of Jack McCall (Eddie Murphy), a Los Angeles literary agent. He's mean-spirited, demanding, and manipulative, and he talks nonstop at a hundred miles an hour. He's also a workaholic, although he makes it a point to not read the manuscripts he's sent. In fact, he has devised a system of reading only the first five pages and the last five pages; if the first five establish reliable characters and marketable plot point, and if the last five resolve everything, it's automatically a bestseller. All he really lives for is dressing sharply and making deals with other literary houses. He never listens to his wife, Caroline (Kerry Washington), who feels they should move away from their Hollywood Hills home into a more family friendly suburb for the sake of their infant son.

Currently, he's looking to rope in a New Age guru named Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis), a Deepok Chopra parody who claims to have written a book but has thus far been unwilling to sell it. Jack goes to Sinja's ashram to work his magic, which involves underhanded tactics like saying he actually read the book. Somehow, Jack cuts his hand on the trunk of a Bodhi tree, which then magically transports itself into his backyard. It's then determined that whatever happens to the tree will happen to Jack. Example: If it gets sprayed with water, Jack will break into a sweat, and if a pair of squirrels scurry up the trunk, it will tickle Jack's body. And then there's the matter of the leaves; every word Jack speaks or writes down results in the loss of one leaf. Sinja warns him that trees die whenever they lose all their leaves. Jack quickly learns that he must choose his words carefully – or not say anything at all.

This provides the setup for a number of situations that could have been funny had they not been so forced. There are several scenes with Jack's tightly-wound assistant (Clark Duke), who at one point has to close a deal on Jack's behalf at a lunch meeting; he takes the strategy of doing what Jack would do far too literally, talking like a black stereotype and making crude physical gestures. There are also several scenes with a Starbucks employee, who must interpret Jack's exaggerated miming to fill his order. And then there's a cameo by comedian John Witherspoon as a blind man who steps into an intersection even though it's not his turn to walk yet. The oddest scene is when he sits in his therapist's office; the therapist is so used to not getting a word in edgewise that he finds he has nothing to say. So they both just sit there making comical expressions. Never mind the fact that it's never explained why Jack is in therapy at all.

And just like that, the film transitions from a manufactured slapstick comedy to a soppy drama. We meet Jack's mother (Ruby Dee), who always mistakes her son for her late husband, the same man who left his family when Jack was only a boy. It seems that Jack has been holding on to a lot of anger over the years. How the filmmakers believed such overtly dramatic material like dementia and abandonment issues could work in a comedy, I have no idea. And then there's Jack's marriage, which had been falling apart for quite some time. It has only gotten worse since Jack was forced to stop speaking. All leads to a sappy, tearjerker ending that combines personal awakening with spiritual awareness. Too bad it comes too late in the story for us to care one way or the other.

But that's the thing: We could have cared. I believe that if this story had been completely reworked as a dramatic parable, its lessons of letting go of the past and being open and attentive to your loved ones would have registered. As it is, they come off as greeting-card sentiments transplanted from an entirely different movie. Did the reshoots in 2011, a full three years after principal photography ended, contribute to this? Perhaps someone saw a rough cut of "A Thousand Words" and thought it was too silly for its own good. If that's the case, I'm afraid more harm was done that good. This movie is an absolute mess. Perhaps it would have been a better idea to keep this film on the shelf and let it disintegrate into nothing but scraps of celluloid.

-- Chris Pandolfi (www.atatheaternearyou.net)
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I Have Nothing to Say
Catt Jones9 March 2012
I love Eddie Murphy…, I really do…, but why oh why would he make a film where he spends most of his time playing a very bad game of charades. The characteristics that make Eddie Murphy funny in the first place is what he says and how he says it, so there was really not a lot to look forward to in this film. I know that silent films are "in" this year with The Artist taking home best picture (really?), but that is where the genre should stop. By the way, just a quick note on that…. Is it just me or does best picture always go to a film that no actually paid to see? Anyway, I really don't think that the story was all that bad it's just that it's been done to death with films like Liar, Liar and Groundhog Day just to name a couple. The writer, Steve Koren also wrote Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty and Click, so there you go. I think that the one saving grace in this film is the performance by Clark Duke (Aaron Wiseberger), who surprisingly was the comic relief in this film. Kerry Washington who played Caroline (great name) Eddie Murphy's (Jack McCall's) wife was boring, even when her character was charged with spicing up the script. It didn't work. The predictability of this film was almost unbearable. By the middle of the film, I could have walked out and still given this film a spot-on review. Whatever you think is going to happen actually does happen. So there you go…… Now you don't have to go and actually see it. I do want to say something positive about the film. There is a moral to the story and it was hard to miss This film was definitely not "big-screen" worthy. And to be honest, I am not sure it was small screen worthy either. I left the theater thinking, what a waste of time and money. I really want to see Eddie Murphy come back to life on the big screen, but he keeps picking the same old dry scripts. Heck, at this point he might fare well to even do another stand-up comedy film. Anything would be better than this. You might be wondering what I am going to give this film…. Well I won't leave you in suspense any longer. Without even muttering a sound, I am giving this film a big fat red light.
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Time for Eddie Murphy to Retire
Richard Reilly11 March 2012
Let me start by telling you what I liked about A Thousand Words. It won't take long. There is a touching thirty seconds at the end of the movie. I laughed a couple times in the middle of the movie. For the adolescent boys out there, there is a scene where Eddie Murphy's sexy wife is dressed in a dominatrix outfit. That's about it. Aside from destroying the wife's acting career in place for a modeling career, this movie achieved nothing.

The writing was awful. This is the most surprising part of this movie. With the writer of Seinfeld and Saturday Night Live, I expected so much more. When you completely freeze the storyline to go on a rant about the joys of living the furry lifestyle, however, you know you have lost your touch. I know some of the actors in this movie are good. With the word garbage they had to spew, it didn't matter. No actor could have turned this movie into gold….or silver…or bronze.

As for the storyline…no. It's bad enough when you base a movie on a gimmick. But to not do anything interesting with that gimmick is pathetic. The movie is so linear that I was preparing for a nap in the middle of it. The only time that it breaks away from the unrelentingly obvious storyline is the end—where the entirety of the movie falls off a steep cliff to die a most horrible death. I want to go find its corpse so I can throw a gallon of acid on ii so no one ever has to lay eyes on it again.

As for Eddie Murphy. I believe I speak for everyone when I call for his retirement from acting. Just admit it: you can't act. Your early movies propelled you to fame because you were surrounded by great actors. On your own, you are nothing. Take up producing or something else in Hollywood, please. For the good of movies, you must leave. I would love it if you left Hollywood altogether. But please stay in California. The other 49 states don't want you.

It goes without saying that you should not go to this movie. You will either be paying for a very expensive nap or—like me—just enjoy the pain of watching the medium of film being defiled. Eddie Murphy is raping the movie industry. He must be prosecuted and exiled. If our Hollywood elders cannot do this, the people will rise up against him. We will chant as one, "No! We will not eat cake!" Then we shall chase him out of France.

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horrible film!
yora21716 April 2012
I had previously seen Tower Heist last year with Eddie Murphy in it and absolutely loved it. I know it wasn't the best, it had flaws, but Eddie shined in his role. I thought it was a great comeback and was even more excited when i heard he was coming out in yet another movie. Little did i know that he had filmed this movie some years ago, it is barely coming out in theaters. I have to say, it is awful. Basically the beginning is the best part of the whole movie, if there is a good part. Eddie plays a literary agent who uses his mouth to get a book deal from just about everyone. When he runs into a guru, played by Cliff Curtis, he sees through his lies and curses him with a tree with 1000 leaves. He spends the whole movie saying "I didn't plant that tree" and "Only you can stop this curse". I found it both annoying and repetitive. What really angered me, was Eddies assistant, played by Clark Duke who many know from hits like Hot Tub Machine or Kick Ass. While he was good in those roles, in this one, he is utterly useless and annoying. I just wanted to leave the theater whenever he came out, it was really that bad his performance. When Eddie loses his ability to speak, the film takes a turn for the worst. Even the infamous scene at starbucks couldn't fix this movie. I couldn't believe they used starbucks in this junk of a movie, what was starbucks thinking. Overall, do NOT watch this movie. If you want to have any form of respect for Eddie Murphy as an actor, watch Tower Heist and end it with that. Skip this abomination of a movie that obviously wasn't released earlier because of how awful it is. I wish i could say it was funny at least, but it left me with a bad taste in my mouth, much like last year's Jack and Jill, the movie that ultimately made me give up hope for Adam Sandler. Hope this helps!
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Nine hundred and ninety-nine words to many
movieman_kev27 October 2012
The writer of Click and Jack & Jill teams up with the director of Eddie Murphy's previous films, Norbit and Meet Dave team up to foist this mess of a film that sat unreleased for years (seldom a good sign) upon an unsuspecting public.

Eddie Murphy stars as a man who only has 1,000 words he can say before he passes on thanks to New Age nonsense. Taking Murphy's acting jobs for the past few decades into account this seems to be 9 hundred and ninety-nine words away from an optimal movie, but I digress. The jokes are non-existent, the drama sappy, and the movie utterly predictable, formulaic and boring.
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