December 16, 2016
A Thousand Words.
Review #886: A Thousand Words.
Eddie Murphy (Jack McCall), Kerry Washington (Caroline McCall), Clark Duke (Aaron Wiseberger), Cliff Curtis (Dr. Sinja), Steve Little (Co-Worker), Allison Janney (Samantha Davis), John Witherspoon (Blind Old Man), Jack McBrayer (Starbucks Coffee Employee), Kayla Blake (Emily), Lennie Loftin (Robert Gilmore), and Ruby Dee (Annie McCall) Directed by Brian Robbins (#147 - Norbit and #221 - Good Burger)
Simply put, this movie is bad. Really, really bad. It is the kind of a movie that exists in a void of nothingness, a void of absolute garbage that isn't really worth getting angry over. There are movies that are blandly terrible (#236 - Mr. Popper's Penguins), movies that are insufferable (#772 - Four Christmases), and movies like this. It's not so much a comedy-drama as it is a movie lacking in any kind of enthusiasm. It is obvious to see the biggest flaw for the film right away: Taking away Eddie Murphy's voice. Granted, he still talks throughout the movie (along with a strange bit of voice-over that feels off-putting), but Murphy just isn't very good at miming. I wonder how this would have been as a silent film, actually. There is never a moment where you feel for anything that is going on, where anything really matters. It also doesn't help that the characters in the movie act like idiots, where simply gestures are interpreted wildly, and other ones are just weird. I fail to see how trying to order coffee (with gestures, of course) can lead to wanting Paul McCartney music (also, who sells that in a Starbucks shop?). Murphy and Washington have little to no chemistry, with no sort of spark of excitement or literally any sort of life. Duke isn't particularly funny (how many times have we seen dweeby characters like this), but I guess him putting duct tape on Murphy is interesting...in that it should have happened earlier in the film. The rest of the nondescript cast is about as bland as you expect, in a movie filled with cliches and dead ends. There's a scene where Murphy is telling a character about his condition (it's a dream sequence, naturally), with the two of them laughing...and he suddenly has leaves flying out of his mouth. Yup, leaves. That's probably the only surprising thing in this movie. Think about that.
Somehow, this movie's release was delayed numerous times. Apparently it was filmed in 2008, but it didn't get released until 2012 (remember those days?) due to being caught up in the split from Dreamworks and Paramount, with re-shoots occurring in 2011. You could've released this as a TV special, or literally any medium that isn't film, because this isn't something you put in theaters. So how does the plot work? Apparently getting a splinter from Bodhi Tree and some sort of handshake between Murphy and a guru (played quite blandly by Curtis), with the tree appearing outside his place that night. Okay, so leaves fall out every time he talks, I get that. But why does it happen when he write notes? Or when he gives it a certain gesture but not other gestures he uses? Why only a thousand? Do tree have so little leaves, or is it the universe giving him a raw deal? Heck, why not just write a note down and carry it with you? I doubt you could lose more words that way considering you're showing the same note around to people. Obviously this is a movie...but who needed this film? Who wanted this? What interested the people who made this into doing a film bereft of any kind of spirit? How did Murphy think this was a good idea? It isn't even a movie with an exploitative kind of spirituality or drama aspect, it's a movie that flat out stinks. When my mom asked about the movie, she wondered why he didn't just use sign language. My response (which pretty much epitomizes the film) was that I don't think any of these characters would even know what sign language is. This does have one benefit: it's a brilliant time waster.
I can't believe I actually wrote so many words about this pile of minutes compiled into a film that crashed and burned without any kind of fire to it. It's actually quite funny. I've done essays for college that had more words, but this is far more strange to do (plus this isn't up to the kind of quality junk I write). To reward you, let me present some things you can do around this holiday month (if there's more than one holiday in the month, it's a holiday month, okay) that are better than this movie. In the holiday spirit, here's twelve:
1. Write your own text show! (I hear you can make it a hobby)
2. Survey ideas for Christmas gifts (no, your social media posts to them count)
3. Try weird food combinations and show your friends (my personal favorite: ketchup on anything)
4. Play a bunch of music choices and literally never break out of the pattern for weeks (no joke)
5. Try wearing two ties (it'll really impress your friends)
6. Try passing a semester (or three) of college (done, without much fear by me)
7. Hang out with friends (who else would you hang out with, a date?)
8. Somehow write reviews for over 100 films in a calendar year for the first time in two years (yup)
9. Make references to cities you have a soft spot for (hello, Buffalo!)
10. Make lists in order to try and be funny (is it working?)
11. Use spell check more often, especially when trying to convey what movie to see
12. Run parallel to an 5K run (been there, done that. Why pay money to wear a Santa suit?)
Literally any of these things would be better than seeing this film. The final word count (including the rating listed after this count): 1000 words. Seriously.
Overall, I give it 2 out of 10 stars.