A Thousand Words
Make Every Word Count
Release Date: March 09, 2012
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 93 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures/Viacom
Director: Brian Robbins
Executive Producer: Jane Bartelme
Writer: Steve Koren
Address Comments To:Sumner Redstone, Chairman/CEO, Viacom
Brad Grey, Chairman/CEO
Adam Goodman, President, Paramount Film Group
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038-3197
Phone: (323) 956-5000
Murphy plays Jack, a fast-talking, deceptive book agent who lies and tricks his way through his daily appointments. Jack has also allowed his marriage and fathering duties to become shallow as well.
Jack learns that a wildly popular New Age guru is about to offer his first book for bidding by publishers. Jack pretends to be a follower of the guru and tricks his way into making a deal with him for the book.
When he learns the book is only five pages long, Jack is furious. Chasing down the guru for an explanation, the guru tells him the book may be short, but has a special meaning for each person who reads it. At the guru’s nature preserve, Jack accidentally scratches himself on a Bodhi tree. Later that night, a Bodhi tree suddenly springs up on Jack’s lawn. He comes to realize that each word he says causes the tree to lose one of its leaves.
The guru explains that the agent and the tree are both sick and dying. He notes that the tree will shed a leaf for each word the agent says. When the tree runs out of the thousand leaves it has left, both it and Jack will die.
The agent realizes he has to change his ways in order to survive and reverse the dying process of both himself and the tree. He tries to do this with shallow efforts at good deeds, but his inherent selfishness negates his efforts. Only when his wife and child move out due to his sudden lack of communication does he really dig deep and decide to make every word count, with full meaning and a true change of heart.
A THOUSAND WORDS is sometimes very funny. Also, the moments where the protagonist makes peace with his family are surprisingly rich. They include a scene where he has a startling and quite moving revelation from his Alzheimer’s-stricken mother. These scenes are beautifully rendered by Director Brian Robbins and his team. They bring the movie’s third act to an uplifting, somewhat redemptive end.
However, the movie has more than 50 gratuitous obscenities and profanities and some sexual references, including a lewd hotel room scene. Also, the plot involving the mystical tree and the self-help guru mixes some New Age content with some Christian content. At one point, the hero is blessed by some Catholic nuns. The New Age content involves some references to chanting and meditation.
Thus, despite the focus on forgiveness and family, A THOUSAND WORDS presents a mixed bag that requires extreme caution.
A THOUSAND WORDS is sometimes very funny. Also, the moments where the protagonist makes peace with his family are surprisingly rich. They bring the movie’s third act to an uplifting, somewhat redemptive end. However, the movie has more than 50 gratuitous obscenities and profanities. There are also some lewd moments and comments. Finally, the positive redemptive elements are mixed with some New Age content. The negative content in A THOUSAND WORDS warrants extreme caution.