Eddie Murphy's 'A Thousand Words': What the Critics are Saying

 

In theaters Friday, Eddie Murphy’s A Thousand Words is already receiving some pretty harsh criticism.

The film, which was actually shot in 2008, follows a fastpace literary agent (Murphy) who gets a hard lesson in the importance of each word spoken.

When he finds a mysterious Bodhi tree on his property, Murphy's character realizes that every word he utters will cause a leaf to fall, bringing him and the tree closer to death. The Dreamworks film co-stars Kerry Washington, Allison Janney and Cliff Curtis.

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However, the comedy is enduring a whole lot of criticism, with a resounding sound of undesirable reviews.

As The Hollywood Reporter’s Frank Scheck said in his review of the film, "This long-delayed, purported comedy is the latest example of how the talented performer’s poor choice of material continually undercuts him." 

"He puts great effort into this feature-length version of charades, with his wild gesticulations and constant mugging occasionally scoring mild laughs," Scheck commented about Murphy's performance.

All the critics seem to agree, and as Claudia Puig of USA Today bluntly puts it: “It doesn't take much verbiage to sum up A Thousand Words: bad.”

Taking a shot at Director Brian Robbins, Andy Webster of The New York Times said, “Perhaps as a result of his prime-time pedigree, (Robbins) has so carefully engineered this manipulative machine that little emotional residue remains — only a product inoffensive, unsurprising and uninspiring.”

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But it is the excessive product placement that gets Michael Phillips of the The Los Angeles Times. “Its product placement ("This coffee is incredible!" Murphy says at one point, holding up a cup that says STARBUCKS) is so galling you wait for the punch line,” Phillips said. "One that never arrives."

Reviews were so unflattering, in fact, that Rotten Tomatoes rated the Murphy flick with a whopping zero percent. Landing the project among the six worst reviewed films in the site's history.

In addition, since the movie was actually filmed nearly four years ago, Rotten Tomatoes concluded, “Dated jokes and removing Eddie Murphy’s voice -- his greatest comedic asset -- dooms this painful mess from the start.”

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Still, according to a Rotten Tomatoes poll at the time of publication, 66 percent of the moviegoers liked the movie (out of 8,000 audience ratings).

The bottom line: As THR's Scheck said, “Eddie Murphy should have said the word 'No' to this tired, formulaic comedy."

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