A Thousand Words

Directed By: Brian Robbins

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Kerry Washington, Cliff Curtis, Clark Duke, and Allison Janney

Six months ago, the writing was on the wall.  Eddie Murphy was making his big comeback.  Tower Heist was supposed to herald the return of the old Eddie Murphy.  Then, he was supposed to host the Oscars for the first time.  Finally, he was going to cap everything off with the comedy vehicle A Thousand Words.  To date, I can say that this comeback has definitely been one thing—nonexistent.  Tower Heist was admittedly decent, mostly thanks to Murphy.  However, he ultimately dropped out of hosting the Oscars after his creative partner Brett Ratner was fired for making a gay slur.  To make things worse, his comedy A Thousand Words gives me a thousand reasons to call it the biggest load of crap I've seen all year.

Jack McCall (Murphy) is a successful literary agent known for his fast-talking style and his ability to win big clients.  His career often gets in the way of his family life with his wife Caroline (Kerry Washington) and his son Tyler (Emanuel Ragsdale).  He still manages to go to see his mother (Ruby Dee) though at her nursing home.  When McCall learns that guru Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis) has written a book, he pounces on the opportunity to represent him. 

While invading Sinja's facilities during group meditation exercises, McCall manages to meet Sinja and make him an offer he can't refuse.  While there, McCall encounters a Bodhi tree that magically moves to his backyard later that day.  He quickly notices that leaves fall off the tree whenever he speaks.  After he consults with Sinja, he learns that his fate is tied to that of the tree.  When the tree runs out of leaves, McCall will have spoken his final word.  Obviously, McCall tries to stop talking altogether.  This newfound problem naturally threatens to destroy McCall himself, but it threatens to take his family and career down too.

A Thousand Words might be the most painful film through which I've had to sit this year so far.  The movie is a hot mess.  Murphy is just not doing his job here at all.  I didn't laugh at one thing he says or does in the film.  Whether breaking out Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" or playing charades at Starbucks, Murphy is just not funny.  This is probably because he came to a gunfight without his gun.  Words are the most important tool in a comedian's arsenal, and he doesn't have them.

One thing that surprised me about A Thousand Words is that Nicolas Cage is one of the producers.  I should have seen the writing on the wall from the start.  It seems that Cage is no longer interested in starring in crappy flicks.  He wants to produce them too.  Unfortunately, he drags Eddie Murphy, Kerry Washington, Clark Duke, and Ruby Dee into his rut.  A Thousand Words sucks as much as any Nicolas Cage film I've seen in recent years.  If I had known Cage was producing it, I might have visited the bartender a few times more beforehand.

It's pretty obvious that A Thousand Words has not passed the Sobriety Test.  It's an epic failure that puts the nail in the coffin for Eddie Murphy's comeback.  I want to forget that I ever came to this movie.  I want to erase the pain.  For shots, I definitely recommend some mind erasers.  A Thousand Words gets a wasted rating.