See it at the Movies

A Thousand Words


(Weak comedy about redemption)

Eddie Murphy stars as an irritating, motor-mouthed executive for a book publisher who tries to land a book deal with a New Age guru, who sees through his selfishness and insincerity. After listening to Murphy's character, Jack, for much too long, both Dr. Sinja and the audience have had enough.

The doctor miraculously plants a tree in Jack's yard. For every word Jack utters, a leaf falls from the tree. When all the leaves are gone, it is good-bye Jack. We are then subjected to a long and tedious game of charades as Jack loses his frustrated wife, tries to communicate with a Starbucks employee, and tries to get his annoying assistant to help him close a deal on the guru's book.

There's a side story about Jack's mother (Ruby Dee) who is dealing with dementia and hints of Jack's anger at losing his father.

This is all a setup for the big redemption scene, where Jack is down to his last leaf and suddenly sees the light. It's not all about him, he discovers. The allegorical movie goes from annoying to melancholy without skipping a beat, as Jack discovers the truth about himself and finds redemption. Scrooge did it better.

A check on Google finds that the movie was shot in 2008 and has been gathering dust on the shelf, where it should have remained. Rated PG-13.


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