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A Thousand Words

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for sexual situations including dialogue, language and some drug-related humor.
not reviewed
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Comedy Drama
1 hr. 31 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
March 9, 2012 (wide—1,500+ theaters)
DVD: June 26, 2012
Copyright, DreamWorks/Paramount Distribution click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, DreamWorks/Paramount Distribution Copyright, DreamWorks/Paramount Distribution Copyright, DreamWorks/Paramount Distribution Copyright, DreamWorks/Paramount Distribution Copyright, DreamWorks/Paramount Distribution Copyright, DreamWorks/Paramount Distribution Copyright, DreamWorks/Paramount Distribution Copyright, DreamWorks/Paramount Distribution
Relevant Issues
Copyright, DreamWorks/Paramount Distribution

lying in the Bible


theat of death

magic tree

effective communication without speech

What are the psychological effects of a parent abandoning his wife and child?

How can you show your loved ones that you truly appreciate them and make your words count?

effects of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

self-help gurus

Featuring: Eddie MurphyJack McCall
Kerry WashingtonCaroline McCall
See all »
Director: Brian Robbins
Producer: DreamWorks SKG
Saturn Films
See all »
Distributor: DreamWorks/Paramount Distribution

“Make every word count”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: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 he’s got to stop talking and conjure up some outrageous ways to communicate or he’s a goner.”

Editor’s Note: This movie ranks as one of the worst films ever according to film critics and audiences. Because interest in this film is almost zero, we are not going to bother writing a review of it, however viewer comments are welcomed and will be published below.

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—While many scenes were offensive and not needed, the movie was entertaining. The PG-13 rating should be followed. Certainly allows for a conversation with others about the importance of wasted words and how superficial we often are. Eddie M. Character and wife are married with a child, that is a plus for Hollywood. He also loves his wife and wants to salvage the marriage, another positive. The movie was like so many movies of people who are jerks in the beginning, and, then, through life lessons, that they did not seek, change their view point.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
Anne, age 40 (USA)
Positive—I didn’t think this movie was as bad as critics said it was… Not great, of course, but mildly amusing. I don’t think I would mind seeing it again someday. Eddie Murphy usually annoys me, but he wasn’t too bad in this film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
Kadie Jo, age 20 (USA)
Neutral—“A Thousand Words” is an interesting film. An interesting premise, to say the least, but a film that just doesn’t hold its own. The sexual language was a bit much. It was just an offensive movie. Parts of it were funny (the parts that weren’t completely filthy). Otherwise, it needs work. The acting was okay for this movie, as well. Just needed some work before being released to the public. Sorry Hollywood, keep trying…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
Alexander Malsan, age 21 (USA)
Negative—As usual for Hollywood—this could have been one of the best, most meaningful movies ever—but, of course, a pagan worldview was promoted. I did like the theme of redemption and the main character having to realize all his sins and correct them—but they should have done three things:

1. Get rid of all the vulgar profanity—expecially: A scene with his mother at the nursing home.

2. Get rid of the scene with his wife in the hotel—not needed in the movie, at all!

3. Center the movie from a Christian perspective—instead of a pagan/mystic perspective—that all insight and redemption come from God.

I liked how the main character couldn’t redeem himself in an insincere way—and it was touching when he truly realized how to right his wrongs—but it was not from a Christian perspective—so, because of that, the movie failed. It could have been so good, though, but Hollywood doesn’t seem to care.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Paueltte, age 47 (USA)
Negative—Definitely not a family film. Numerous profanities, including an F-word, and pornographic. The daycare scene presents a gratuitous promotion of gay couples. It is extremely sad, because the premise of the movie is creative; a man leaves a small taint of blood when he touches a tree and gets a sliver. The selfish, verbose man, insensitive, because he talks incessantly and refuses to listen to others, finds out he is now connected to the large tree and each word he utters results in a leaf dropping. He is warned that he will die when the last leaf has fallen. Unfortunately, the director chose to mix creativeness with porn, resulting in a worthless film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Chas, age 65 (USA)
Negative—I can’t believe we wasted $1.00 at Redbox for this movie. It had such great potential to show how words are very importan,t and in them is life and death. The writers really missed it on this one. I love a movie that stretches your emotions from happy to sad, and this one could have done that easily, but they took the humor and made it extremely crud,e going against the very story line the movie could have been projecting.

Murphy’s acting was definitely not up to par, either. I am getting extremely tired of PG-13 just being an avenue to expose children to new levels of immorality, in order to desensitize them further. How far we have allowed our culture to fail, comparing to the days that “I Love Lucy” didn’t even want to offend their audience by portraying a married couple actually sleeping in the same bed.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
Dow Wilson, age 45 (USA)
Negative—I couldn’t even get through the first 5 minutes. There were so many cuss words. When they brought on the spiritualist anti-Christ, I chose, from that moment on, to no longer watch. I wish I would have done more research before I paid money to see it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: none
Lynn, age 33 (USA)
Movie Critics
“…This is the kind of colossally misguided vanity project in which the story takes a melodramatic turn, exploits Ruby Dee as an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s, and concludes with a sequence in which Jack gets in touch with his inner child by chasing a boy through a field of wheat shot in golden, dreamy sunlight. I am not making any of this up. …” [1/4]
Rene Rodriguez, The Miami Herald
“…When Jack finally apparently redeems himself, it seems to be by instinct or good luck. I say ‘apparently’ because, as heaven’s my witness, I’m not completely sure if Jack is alive, dead or reincarnated at the end of the movie. You could build a case for all three. … [1½/4]”
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
“…a series of barely connected set-pieces in which Murphy mugs and makes hand signals to get around the word problem. He pretends to squeeze an imaginary breast to order extra milk for his coffee at Starbucks, and uses his wind-up Austin Powers doll to give affirmative answers on the telephone. For some reason he shares the secret about his curse with his nerdy assistant (Clark Duke), but he shuts up around his bewildered wife. …” [1/4]
Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail
“…Eddie Murphy should have just said the word “No” to this tired, formulaic comedy. …”
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
“…third-rate piece of blech… Eddie Murphy should have just said the word “No” to this tired, formulaic comedy. …” [1/4]
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
“…‘A Thousand Words’ is mostly harmless, but the largely joyless exercise is a letdown… Murphy plunges headlong back into the swamp of insipid comedies he'd just crawled his way out of. …” [2/5]
Barbara VanDenburgh, The Arizona Republic
“…Shallow performances, script and direction mute the laughs and the insights in a movie that ultimately doesn’t have much to say. …” [2/4]
Peter Howell, Toronto Star
“…Unfortunately, for a film that advises us to guard our words, A Thousand Words sure seems hasty in the way it deploys them. That's a reference to its liberal use of profanity, but also the way it fouls up an intriguing theme with disjointed, sometimes downright incoherent scenes. …”
Paul Asay, Plugged In

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