• FILM

  • SEARCH FOR

A Thousand Words

A Thousand Words

Directed by Brian Robbins. Starring Eddie Murphy, Kerry Washington, Allison Janney, Clark Duke, Cliff Curtis. (2012, PG-13, 91 min.)

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., March 16, 2012

If A Thousand Words’ formula seems familiar, that’s because writer Steve Koren has tripped down this quasi-metaphysical path before in Bruce Almighty and Click. In brief: Clueless guy meets magical/mystical/religious force. Antics ensue, followed by a dark night of the soul and finally salvation. Here, the clueless guy is Eddie Murphy’s Jack McCall, a fast-talking Hollywood literary agent trying to sign a spiritual guru named Dr. Sinja (Curtis). Jack lies through his teeth to land the client, which is generally not something you should do to a holy man, especially when there’s a vengeful Bodhi tree nearby with which to make an accidental blood pact. Or something. Jack’s fate becomes linked with the tree’s. For every word he says, the tree loses a leaf; every leaf the tree loses, Jack comes closer to life’s end. A thousand leaves equals a thousand words, then it’s curtains for Jack. The idea of Murphy, that famously motormouthed actor, suddenly tongue-tied is not a punchy enough punch line to carry a whole film, and Koren’s insubstantial comic set-pieces, perfunctorily staged by Murphy’s Norbit director Brian Robbins, overly rely on the audience’s fondness (mostly absent) for Murphy’s elastic-faced overemoting. But the film’s ungainly transition from yuk-yuk comedy to chest-beating drama works in Murphy’s favor. As his Jack quiets, so does the actor, and it becomes easier to hear the film’s ham-fisted but not unworthy message about the path to inner peace.
This content has not been formatted for this window size.
Please increase the size of your browser window, or revisit this page on a mobile device.
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)