You’d think that a movie where Eddie Murphy is limited to only a thousand words, you might catch a break from his fast talking annoyances (well, the latter Eddie Murphy). But even with limited words, he still manages to annoy with lots of close ups on his extreme expressions on his face. It’s not all bad though.
Jack McCall (Eddie Murphy) is a fast talking book agent, whose slithery words can persuade any person into signing a contract. Jack is a liar and likes to get things done quickly in his busy life. He is told to try and get spiritual guru, Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis), a book deal for his widely popular book. While meeting with Sinja and convincing him to sign, he comes in contact with a spiritual Bohdi tree. The tree nicks blood and Murphy starts bitching about how it bit him or some shit.
Well, later that night as Jack is arguing with his wife Caroline (Kerry Washington), a loud shake appears and the tree that Jack encountered at Sinja’s place is now in his back yard. Jack starts bitching again and doesn’t notice the amount of leaves falling from the tree. The next day he invites Sinja over, and he explains the spiritual connection between Jack and the tree. The tree is slowly dying and it loses leaves with every word Jack speaks.
So Jack now goes through his days learning to appreciate the value of choosing your words wisely. His words have affected relationships with his Wife, his assistant Aaron (Clark Duke), his coworkers, and his mother. Basically, Jack is a piece of shit to everyone and he learns his lesson the hard way.
A Thousand Words delivers a simple moral message: Use your words wisely. But for Eddie Murphy’s case, it really means SHUT THE FUCK UP. Sure, I get it; he’s trying to be like the old Eddie. I like the old Eddie, but I can’t stand looking at most of new Eddie’s stuff. He seems to find ways to annoy people. Even when he is limited to only a few words (a thousand is just a couple sentences for him) his facial expressions and extreme close ups get to you. When he is frustrated he really really shows he is frustrated like a pouty child holding their breath.
A few characters make this movie better though, first and foremost, Clark Duke’s character. Duke delivers his usual chubby/awkward/geeky guy persona like we have seen in Kick-Ass and Hot Tub Time Machine. He really is a joy to watch, especially when it’s his time to take over and show what he has learned from Murphy’s character; throwing slang and being a rude ass to the clients. It’s entertaining when he does it. Because he’s geeky. And chubby.
Another person I usually get a kick out of is Jack McBrayer. He has a small role as a Starbucks Barista, but I just love his overly giddy and always smiling attitudes. Sure it’s not as funny as when he is very angry and very far away, but it’s Jack McBrayer.
Both McBrayer and Duke take away from Eddie’s constant in your face, uhh, face.
All in all, A Thousand Words is a simple story with a set moral lesson. The closest example of this that I can think of is Adam Sandler’s Click, a movie where the main comedian tries to be as funny as their old self and falls flat, and gives you a simple lesson along the way. The movie isn’t horrible by any means. I got most of my enjoyment out of McBrayer and Duke as I said before, with only little hints of humor from Eddie. I’m sure the masses will get some decent enjoyment out of this, as they may have a higher threshold of annoyance for Eddie Murphy than I do by this point.
A Thousand Words – 6/10