Film Review – A Thousand Words
Director: Brian Robbins
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Kerry Washington, Cliff Curtis, Clarke Duke
Genre: Comedy Drama
Rating:******(out of 10)
Venue: Ster Kinekor Maerua Mall, Cine 4
Over the top actor Eddie Murphy and the gorgeous Kerry Washington (Caroline McCall) play husband and wife in the latest Hollywood blockbuster, A Thousand Words. Murphy plays Jack McCall , a fast talking book agent who resorts to any means necessary to nail a book deal. The movie follows Murphy setting his sights on getting a book out of a New Age guru, Dr Sinja (Cliff Curtis). He attends one of Dr Sinja’s meditation sessions and pretends to have seen the purple light, which is considered to be seen only by those that are pure in heart and at peace within themselves. After the incident Murphy touches a tree and later on finds the exact tree planted in his garden. The tree begins to shed leaves with every word he utters and with every leaf that falls, he is one step closer to death. Jack refuses to speak at all, as doing so will keep the tree, and him, alive. However, his work, marriage, and friendships are all affected by his choice.
In order to save himself Murphy must choose his words wisely. This proves to be a battle because he has to sign on a new client at work and his wife feels that they are drifting apart because they are not communicating as much as they did before they had their son. McCall can’t express himself and she gets frustrated by his antics. There is a scene where she says to him “You are behaving like a mental patient with all the pointing and grunting”. The last straw for the couple is when Caroline plans a romantic for them at a secluded hotel and Jack fails to talk ‘dirty’ to her. She throws him out of the hotel room when he fails to express himself. Of course, he is devastated but completely incompetent to do anything about it.
Although the plot of the movie is paper thin, it does have some hilarious moments. The scene between Jack and the blind old man that needs help with crossing the street is my favourite. The old man asks Jack to tell him when it is safe to cross the road and Jack just grunts. The blind takes this as a signal that the light is green and it is safe to cross. This causes havoc as drivers hit into one another in attempts to avoid running the man over. Jack has to push the man out of harm’s way and the old man screams, “there must be some crazy people out there with all this hustle and hooting”. In the quest to stop himself from dying, McCall must go on a journey to rediscover himself and mend all his broken relationships, including the grudge he has held over his father abandoning him and his mother when he was young. Essentially, the movie has its own moral story. Jack has to become a nicer person and not the selfish chauvinist that he is. Time runs out for him, his wife leaves him and he loses his job and only has a few leaves left on the tree. With the help of his wimpy assistant who acts like a macho man but fails dismally, Aaron Wiseberger who is played by college series ‘Greek’ actor Clarke Duke, at last convinces Jack to change fundamentally.
Eddie Murphy fans and fans of movies like ‘Bruce Almighty’ and ‘Yes Man’ will like this one. I feel its Murphy’s best movie since Coming to America. Finally he acts in a movie that has some meaning. Murphy’s acting is what actually saves the movie from crashing on its own plot.
This movie is about self-discovery, forgiveness, second chances, restoration of hope and being in harmony with nature and the universe. It is not the typical Eddie Murphy kind of movie. Yes he is still over the top but this time he has a message to deliver and I must say he and all the other cast members deliver the message loud and clear. Curtis and Clarke did a splendid job in portraying their characters. It shows that Eddie is still funny. Overall its a story about a son with daddy issues who in a quest to solve those issues discovers the true meaning of living. The end of the film delivers a powerful message, a few words can go a long way. One realises that words are accountable and cannot be wasted. Only the words that are crucial and urgent ought to be uttered.