Head of the UTG film department and mastermind behind Reasonable Remakes, Justin Proper has brought us another new column. Ladies and gentleman, allow us to introduce you to: How Bad Is It?
Movies are the number one source of entertainment according to a statistic I just made up. Everyone loves going to the movies. It’s a standard date night, and has helped millions of teens awkwardly hold hands in the dark. Movies are a great escape from reality, and help people relieve the stress of their lives. Unfortunately every once in a while a movie gets released that ruins the experience…
Eddie Murphy has not thrived in the last decade. Excluding his role in the Shrek series, his last ten or so movies have been…well…fucking awful. It is such a disappointment to see the man who gave us movies like Beverly Hills Cop and Coming To America fall so far from grace. It is like when everyone found out Milli Vanilli was a fraud and then they tried to release an album with their voices and it sucked. Maybe those first Murphy films and stand up acts were just someone funny in an Eddie Murphy suit or something.
Either way, I had heard mediocre things about Tower Heist and thought that maybe…just maybe…Murphy could be on a comeback. With my hopes slightly above normal I set out to see A Thousand Words. My main thought was “Hey, there is no way it will be worse than Jack and Jill, and I totally sat through that.”. I could not have been more wrong…
A Thousand Words starts out with the great movie cliche of starting at the end, then going back to the beginning, just to *gasp* return to where it started. Let me say that I am getting quite sick of this gimmick when it is used in a very obvious and unnecessary manner. The plot revolves around Murphy who is a fast talking agent (and also a total asshole) at a publishing company. Due to a strange twist of fate involving some standard new age healer Murphy’s life becomes connected to the life of a magic tree. Every time Murphy talks the tree loses a leaf, which will eventually lead to his demise. Can Murphy change his ways and learn a life lesson to reverse this “curse” before all his leaves fall? Probably, it is a movie, after all, but I wont give away the ending, maybe he dies.
Critics so far have universally hated the film, which currently sits at 0% on rottentomatoes.com. I am going to say that again so you really can grasp it: A Thousand Words is at 0% on rottentomatoes.com. Needless to say, I am not just one lone guy hating on a movie that just was not up my alley, this thing was legitimately awful.
How Bad Is It?
The main problem I have with A Thousand Words is that it did not know what age group it was trying to entertain. It had lots of the childish physical comedy you would expect from post-Shrek era Murphy, but it also had a lot of adult and sexual humor thrown in from your classic Murphy. I found myself wondering who the target market for this film was throughout most of the film. In one scene we have Murphy dancing around like a maniac in public (there were squirrels crawling around on the tree, and he feels whatever the tree feels) then a few scenes later we get some sexual and scatological jokes. Speaking of shit, there was no less than three jokes revolving around fecal matter. Way to keep it classy.
I think the biggest mistake this movie made was trying to be so serious while still trying to be an outrageous comedy. The film was loaded with scenes that were supposed to be touching or moving or show character development to help you connect to the people you were watching but all these attempts fell flat. The “breakthrough” moment for Murphy’s character was ruined by cheesy dialogue delivered in a very unemotional and robotic way, ruining any hope of you caring at all that anything had happened to him in the previous ninety minutes.
So how bad was A Thousand Words? It was so bad that I felt like it lasted a thousand minutes, and none of those minutes contained any comedy. Do not go see this movie. Do not wait and rent this movie. If someone invites you to see it they are either trying to trick you, or honestly hate you. Please, together we can stop this menace before it spreads and pollutes our pop culture.
Justin Proper also has an army of children. He uses them to fight pirates in Neverland. You can follow him on Twitter.