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A Thousand Words (2012)


Average Rating: 3.2/10
Reviews Counted: 54
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 54

Critics Consensus: Dated jokes (A Thousand Words was shot in 2008) and removing Eddie Murphy's voice -- his greatest comedic asset -- dooms this painful mess from the start.

Average Rating: 3.2/10
Reviews Counted: 21
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 21

Critics Consensus: Dated jokes (A Thousand Words was shot in 2008) and removing Eddie Murphy's voice -- his greatest comedic asset -- dooms this painful mess from the start.


Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 74,416


Movie Info

Eddie Murphy is Jack McCall, a fast-talking literary agent, who can close any deal, any time, any way. He has set his sights on New Age guru Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis) for his own selfish purposes. But Dr. Sinja is on to him, and Jack's life comes unglued after a magical Bodhi tree mysteriously appears in his backyard. With every word Jack speaks, a leaf falls from the tree and he realizes that when the last leaf falls, both he and the tree are toast. Words have never failed Jack McCall, but now … More

PG-13 (for sexual situations including dialogue, language and some drug-related humor)
Drama , Comedy
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Jun 26, 2012
Box Office:
Paramount Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for A Thousand Words

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (0) | Rotten (54) | DVD (3)

The high concept breeds lowbrow gags.

Full Review… | March 9, 2012
Time Out New York
Top Critic

Does Eddie Murphy actually have any range, or is it just an illusion created by a few early edgy roles and, later, a lot of CGI makeup and fat suits?

Full Review… | March 9, 2012
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Eddie Murphy should have just said the word "No" to this tired, formulaic comedy.

Full Review… | March 9, 2012
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

It makes you want to see Murphy team up with Judd Apatow, or even take on a dead-serious dramatic role - do anything but star in another movie like this one.

Full Review… | March 9, 2012
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Follows directly in the footsteps of Bruce Almighty, Click, Liar Liar, Groundhog Day and any other post-Freaky Friday high-concept redemption story that inevitably crossed Tim Allen and Adam Sandler's desks at some point.

Full Review… | March 9, 2012
Top Critic

What you don't have is a funny movie.

Full Review… | March 9, 2012
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

A thousand words? Try two words: stay away. Murphy does a pretty good job keeping up with the various indignities heaped on him but the movie as a whole ends up sinking.

Full Review… | September 15, 2012
We Got This Covered

a poorly conceived and startlingly miscast comedy that works to every one of its stars' weaknesses.

Full Review… | August 30, 2012
The National

You've got one of the funniest verbal actors in the business in Eddie Murphy, and you put him in a movie where he can't talk. It's already a recipe for disaster.

Full Review… | June 22, 2012
Movie Metropolis

'A Thousand Words' is not unspeakably awful.

Full Review… | April 21, 2012
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

The sort of awful formulaic crud that 30 Rock brilliantly mocked just before Leap Day.

Full Review… | March 28, 2012
Salt Lake Tribune

Hopelessly underwhelming from start to finish...

Full Review… | March 28, 2012
Reel Film Reviews

Murphy, without the words to go along with his bug-eyed double-takes and the mugging, is lost here... He's never been a silent comic, and never will be.

Full Review… | March 23, 2012
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

... equal parts labored allegory without resonance and forced comedy without laughs ...

Full Review… | March 20, 2012
Sacramento News & Review

Like a bad penny, Eddie Murphy is back again, in a family-friendly PG-13 comedy that nobody wants to see.

Full Review… | March 19, 2012
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

There is something almost poignant in the way Eddie Murphy so palpably desires to make a meaningful film about enlightenment. The almost comes from the difference between that aspiration and the painfully ill-conceived follow-through

Full Review… | March 18, 2012
Killer Movie Reviews

The idea of Murphy, that famously motormouthed actor, suddenly tongue-tied is not a punchy enough punch line to carry a whole film.

Full Review… | March 16, 2012
Austin Chronicle

This lame, wannabe comedy is an unmitigated disaster.

Full Review… | March 15, 2012
SSG Syndicate

Maybe Murphy should give future scripts a less cursory perusal.

Full Review… | March 14, 2012
Boston Phoenix

A Thousand Words ends up incomplete and disingenuous, and worse, not a frame of it is funny.

Full Review… | March 13, 2012

Not the worst Eddie Murphy movie but certainly not his best either

Full Review… | March 12, 2012

It isn't a horrible movie, at least not in comparison to Norbit from the same star and director, but it is a dispiritingly dull and cynical one.

Full Review… | March 12, 2012

Sometimes it's hard to tell quite where the incisions start and stop throughout this already uneven creation.

Full Review… | March 11, 2012
Slant Magazine

While not descending to the level of Murphy's worst work--'Pluto Nash' still stands unchallenged--it's a bland, negligible example of the 'becoming a better person through magic' scenario.

Full Review… | March 11, 2012
One Guy's Opinion

Makes The Adventures of Pluto Nash look like Beverly Hills Cop!

Full Review… | March 10, 2012

It suffers from being too broad.

Full Review… | March 10, 2012
Boxoffice Magazine

Audience Reviews for A Thousand Words

Another free library rental that I wouldn't have paid full price (actually, anything) for.
Wasn't expecting a great deal, but this was okay to watch once.
Ending is enough to make you vomit, but leading up to it is okay with some amusing situations and characters. In particular I liked Jack Mcbrayer as the barista.
Quite an original idea for this genre. Sounds ridiculous on paper, but actually it does work. I do agree with the comments that Eddie does not have the facial expressions to pull off silence.

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


It may be better and have more heart that some of Eddie Murphy's recent live action films, but "A Thousand Words" is surrounded by laughable performances, a horribly written script (seriously, a 10-year-old could have written this), and sloppy direction. Eddie Murphy is fine in this role and the whole second chance at being a good person is presented well, but that's about it. Any obstacle he tries to prevent himself from talking is thrown out the window because some of it actually counts as him talking which makes no sense and contradicts the films' "comedy." I chuckled a few times in the beginning when he actually spoke, but once his voice drops, so does the movie. It may not be a terrible film, but it is still very very bad. With tacked on emotional moments and cliched dialogue to make you feel for the characters, this film falls flat on it's face and had me staring at the film when it was trying to be funny and laughing when it was trying to be serious. This film is unsure of what it wants to do, but I'll give credit to the broad idea that the film has. "A Thousand Words" is a very bad, but watchable film.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Eddie Murphy. What happened to your taste in movie roles? This was the stupidest movie..not funny at all. Just stupid.

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Its amazing how far and low Eddie Murphy has fallen, this guy used to be an action/comedy star, now he churns out straight to DVD rubbish. This film was made in 2008 yet due to major studio issues it wasn't released until last year 2012! now that's unlucky.

To be honest the film isn't all that bad, there is a nice spiritual Buddist/Hindu flow through the plot which is simple yet effective. Its an easy going 'Scrooge' type affair really, Murphy is a fast talking slick literacy agent ('Jack') who stretches the truth to make his deals. He gets his comeuppance when he tries his usual spiel on an Indian Guru and ends up getting cursed.

The curse being a Bodhi tree appearing in his garden, from there on every word 'Jack' utters a leaf drops from the tree, the tree dies as the leaves drop...and so does 'Jack'. Once 'Jack' realises his situation the tree only has 1000 leafs left, thus he must try not to speak anymore and hilarity prevails.

Seen something like this before you say? yep you would be right, the plot is very much like Jim Carrey vehicles 'Liar Liar' and 'Yes Man'. In fact this film could have easily been a Jim Carrey vehicle, the plot is perfect for him, its virtually 'Liar Liar' all over again, to a degree. Murphy is wasted here as his best asset is his loud mouth, without it he's rather dull. The problem is Murphy doesn't have the rubber faced skills of Carrey (who would have fitted this much better) to fall back on.

The laughs are very predictable as you can imagine but as said Murphy can't really pull them off very well, he's not that kind of visual comedian. The plot is sweet but again incredibly predictable and ends up being very very mushy towards the end, in fact I still don't quite know what Murphy's character really achieves to reverse his curse. Cliff Curtis as 'Dr. Sinja' is a nice cast choice but you almost feel the role could be given to Morgan Freeman as the character is pretty much the same as his 'Bruce Almighty' role. Lets be honest the whole cast of 'Bruce Almighty' or even 'The Truman Show' could replace the cast for this film and it probably would have done much better.

Its nice to see some Hindu/Buddist imagery and religious culture in this film but that can't really save it. A bad choice in casting lets the film down hugely, on one hand it could have been a sensible emotional drama, on the other a great comedy. In the end its neither and simple below average, its annoying as there is a nice story in here too.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

A Thousand Words Quotes

Jack McCall:
Dickhead's one word!
– Submitted by Baurushan J (23 months ago)
Jack McCall:
– Submitted by Baurushan J (23 months ago)
Annie McCall:
Life's not worth living with out family. Right? Right?!
– Submitted by Jose C (24 months ago)
Jack McCall:
[standing in front of father's grave] I forgive you.
– Submitted by Christina W (2 years ago)
Annie McCall:
I like cake! Don't you Jack?
– Submitted by Christina W (2 years ago)
Jack McCall:
I want my baby back baby back baby back baby back I want my baby back baby back ribs!
– Submitted by Christina W (2 years ago)

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