Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Thousand Words

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

A Thousand Words - 3 out of 5

One of the most influential comedians in my life that inspired me to hit the stage and make people laugh was Eddie Murphy.  His work on stage, on Saturday Night Live and his classic movies were immensely funny.  Sure, his choice in roles have suffered over the past decade (maybe longer) but it's hard for me to completely write-off the man like so many others have.
After becoming a dad, Eddie began to take more family friendly roles.  Granted these films were terrible and didn't fit the Murphy we already had grown accustomed to but it seems that Eddie may be working his way back to his glory days.  Tower Heist saw a glimpse of Eddie's days gone by in his performance and a good portion of this film sees that return as well.
As much as I like the guy, I still think he needs to apologize for Pluto Nash.
In A Thousand Words, Eddie Murphy plays a snaked-tongued agent named Jack McCall with numerous character flaws (because if he didn't have these flaws, where would the movie go?  You can't have a perfect character--that's why I'm not allowed to be in movies).  He lacks true commitment to his family, he lies, he's conniving--he's your basic agent...the kind that doesn't return my calls and keeps telling me I wouldn't make a good James Bond villain--which we all know he's full of it because we all know I would!
After a spiritual guru, Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis), becomes the next big thing, Jack decides to sign him and make a mint selling his book.  Karma or whatever fictional spiritual force at work decides to teach our agent friend a lesson and he becomes connected to a tree that magically sprouts in his backyard.  Every time he speaks, the tree loses its leaves.  If all the leaves...leave, than Jack will die...unless he has a major revelation and can figure out what the tree is trying to say to him.  While Dr. Sinja is off to get answers, Jack is forced to juggle his new dilemma while remaining a big time agent.  With limited words, an inept assistant mucking things up (Clark Duke) and a family in crisis, Jack seems on the verge of losing everything...and I literally mean everything.
I wish my career as a spiritual guru took off.  But idiot me started to snicker
and utter, "I can't believe they're falling for this" every time I convinced someone
to join my cult.

Critics nearly universally panned this movie and going into it, I was fully prepared to find this film to be disappointing.  In fact, I was even unaware of the film's rating and, because of the story and Eddie's recent movies, I thought it would be a G-rated affair but after the second utter of the word "shit," I started to suspect that my original preconcieved notions might be wrong.

I had the same problem with a plant I had...but it turned out the leaves
fell because I didn't water it.

Despite the fact the film has a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, I actually found myself enjoying this one.  Even though the film's story sounds dangerously close to some kind of short story you would be forced to read in your literature class in high school, it was something unique and offered a new twist on a way to tell a moralistic tale.
ARGHHHH!!!  Kill it with fire!

Critics also attacked the fact that much of the movie involves Eddie Murphy without his voice.  However, this actually became an aspect I enjoyed--NOT because it meant Eddie was quiet, we're not talking about Chris Tucker here.  Instead, it became a series a mildly entertaining moments that utilized Murphy's physical comedic prowess.

The only real complaint I had about this movie is the lack of balance it holds.  The first half is pure comedy and the final half is all drama.  This, on the surface, isn't necessarily a bad thing but the film doesn't blend one well into the other--even though Eddie does a great job at being both humorous and dramatic. Clark Duke sitting on a giant pancake?  If so, where can I find this pancake?

Going into this, I admit I expected something as bad as Daddy Day Care but was pleasantly surprised with the end result.  The movie isn't without its problems but a great performance from Murphy, along with the fact he was backed up by equally terrific performances from Clark Duke and Cliff Curtis, as well as an interesting, emotional story, A Thousand Words became something better than I hate me because I went against the grain of all other critics on this one.

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