Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Thousand Words (2012)

Part of the reason why I like watching the previews at the beginning of movies is that I find out about movies I may not have heard about otherwise. That was the case with this movie. as soon as I saw the trailer, I knew I'd like it. I love Eddie Murphy and Kerry Washington, and I like movies where an asshole learns to be less of an asshole and to care more about life and the people in it, and this is one of those movies. Jack McCall (Murphy) isn't really that bad of a guy, he's just a busy executive who is known for his flattery and who is used to getting ahead by spinning flattery. He's all style and no substance.

Jack has a wife who loves him but wishes he showed that he cared more. for all his fluttery words, he doesn't take much time to tell her that he cares, and even when he says the right things, his actions show otherwise. For instance, they are still living in the house that was his bachelor pad before he met her, even though they have a baby son now, and he is unwilling to move or even to take steps to baby-proof the house to make it safer for his growing family. It's almost like he's trying to hold onto his old life so that if his new life falls apart somehow, like if his wife leaves him, he'll still have something familiar and safe to fall back on. After all, Jack is used to people leaving. His father walked out on him when he was young, and his mother, though she loves him, has Alzheimer's and is stuck in the past, waiting for her husband to come back. She often thinks that Jack is his father when he comes to visit her, which irks him to no end, because the last thing he wants to be in life is his father.

The events of the movie take a supernatural turn when Jack tries to sign a book deal with a spiritual guru, and in the process, Jack encounters a tree that seems to have a spiritual connection to him. Before he knows what hit him, the tree has followed him to his own backyard (in a particularly funny scene) and Jack soon realizes that the spiritual connection with this tree could be deadly: for every word Jack speaks, leaf falls from the tree, and once all the leaves fall, he will die. Watching Jack , the man of many words, try to get through life while speaking as little as possible, is the running joke of the movie, but I give credit to the writers for managing to keep playing on the same joke without making it seem old and tired. One scene where Jack handles a conference call without speaking had me practically rolling on the floor with laughter.

Jack's assistant, played by Clark Duke, does tend to get a little on the ridiculous side with the running jokes about what a doofus he is, but I let that slide, and he does have some genuinely funny moments. Allison Janney is great in a small part as Jack's boss. Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable movie, and it's one I wouldn't mind watching again.

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