CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Film Review: Nothing Nice to Say About Eddie Murphy’s Awful Comedy ‘A Thousand Words’
CHICAGO – The movie business is a funny thing in that EVERYONE involved with “A Thousand Words” has moved on and yet there are studio executives who still want you to care enough to open your wallet. Who didn’t care before you? The writers who delivered once of the worst scripts in years, the director who proved that his pedestrian work on “Norbit” and “Meet Dave” was the pinnacle of his abilities, and the producers who let this cinematic crime get even more stale than when it was shot. (For a fun drinking game, count the dated jokes from “Chili’s Baby Back Ribs” to Britney Spears’ tabloid life in a film that was shot in 2008). Everyone involved left it behind. Why should you care? Only the most masochistic connoisseurs of the truly awful need check it out.
With a ridiculous plot that will make you long for the subtlety of “Liar, Liar” and “Bruce Almighty,” “A Thousand Words” tells the story of literary agent Jack McCall (Eddie Murphy), another fast-talking Hollywood creation. Jack is one of those fast-talking types cut from the Ari Gold (from “Entourage”) mold, a guy who berates and ignores most of the people around him. However, in typical Hollywood fashion, he’s not really THAT bad a guy. What are his crimes? He fakes a phone call to get in front of the line at Starbucks in a way that would NEVER work in the real world. He forces his assistant (Clark Duke) to pick out marshmallows from his cereal. He is hesitant to give up the home he started his career in for a family one with his lovely wife (Kerry Washington) and child. He’s a prick for sure but it’s one of the film’s main flaws that he’s not a truly horrendous person, the kind who really needs to learn a serious lesson, and so we never really care about his turn-around.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “A Thousand Words” in our reviews section.|
The lesson of “A Thousand Words” begins when McCall courts a trendy New Age guru named Sinja (Cliff Curtis) in an attempt to sell his first book, one that everyone expects will set the charts on fire. Sinja and McCall couldn’t be more dissimilar as one finds beauty in the small moments and the quiet of life and the other finds value in his lattes and star status. When McCall is at Sinja’s commune, he pricks his hand on a Bodhi tree, which later appears in his own backyard. Sinja didn’t send it as a gift but he has an idea as to why it’s there. As the two soon learn, the tree is attached to Jack. Every time Jack speaks (or even writes a word on paper), a leaf falls. When all the leaves fall, the tree will die and so will Jack. Can Jack stay quiet? Can he find inner peace? Have you seen a movie before?
A Thousand Words
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures