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A Thousand Words hard to recommend even to Eddie Murphy fans

A Thousand Words is hard to recommend to even EddiA poorly conceived and startlingly miscast comedy that works to every one of its stars' weaknesses.
Eddie Murphy and Kerry Washington in A Thousand Words.
Eddie Murphy and Kerry Washington in A Thousand Words.

A Thousand Words

Director: Brian Robbins

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Kerry Washington, Clark Duke

*

Murphy stars as Jack, a literary agent who lies to a guru. The guru curses him and now Jack only has 1,000 words left to say before he dies, represented by a tree in his garden.

As the leaves fall with every word he says, Jack must find new ways to communicate in order to carry on living. What strikes you most about A Thousand Words – more than the terrible jokes, the downright boring plot and dull pace – is that someone thought it was a good idea to take a man whose entire comic persona is that of a fast talker – indeed, at one point the most engaging comedian on the planet – and silence him.

Following the basic tone of Jim Carrey's Liar, Liar, only in reverse, Murphy has no choice but to mug his way through various cringeworthy scenarios, such as using mime to argue with his wife or make a crucial deal at the office.

It is as predictable as you may think, and his supporting cast of normally reliable character actors flounder with the poor material, particularly Duke as Jack's co-worker. By no means Murphy's worst (his career decline is such that shockingly bad fare, such as the previous Murphy/Robbins collaboration Norbit and Meet Dave will always hold that "honour"), but from the start this is a poorly conceived and startlingly miscast comedy that works to every one of its stars' weaknesses.

A film that is hard to recommend even to Murphy's most ardent supporters.

Updated: March 22, 2012 04:00 AM

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