DVD Review: A Thousand Words

Review by Toby Lattimore

A Thousand Words (12A)

A toned, young looking, Eddie Murphy is the main feature of this one concept comedy directed by TV producer and relatively experienced film director Brian Robbins. Robbins has a connection with Murphy and understands his visual and vocal dexterity, which is evident in A Thousand Words, and he has also worked with him on Norbit and the slightly funnier Meet Dave.

In this straightforward film, the character Jack McCall relies on his ‘gift of the gab’ to sign up authors for a publishing company but he has his priorities all mixed up and it takes a magic tree and a spiritual leader played by a strangely hippy-like Cliff Curtis (Sunshine) to trap him in what appears to be a magic curse whereupon if he should utter more than a thousand words he will die. He has to then think very carefully about what he says to his wife Kerry Washington (Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer) and his colleagues.

As concepts go this one seems like an interesting premise but the problem is, and it is a big one with a film about words, the script. Time and time again we understand that Murphy cannot say anything because the utterance of any words would shorten his life but when faced with the need for just a couple of important words he fails to deliver. Surely a few well-placed words is not too difficult to work out and it just frustrates the viewer rather than making them laugh.

The tragic nature of his curse is demonstrated, and Murphy shows his talent, but this intimacy is short lived and we are again treated to the character’s poorly directed, surprisingly volatile, anger and the unfunny drama - after all this is a comedy. The one character who comes out of the film with much credit is Clark Duke (Kick-Ass), as Murphy’s PA, who is forging a bumbling sidekick-type persona which is paying his acting career dividends.