"Make Every Word Count"
What You Need To Know:
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.
(PaPa, FR, B, C, Ho, LLL, V, S, N, AA, DD, MM) Strong mixed pagan worldview with some New Age references to self-help guru who uses meditation and chants in part of his recommendations to people and man establishes unexplained “psychic” and mystical connection with a mysterious plant, with some moral points about family and making words count, some Christian and redemptive elements include forgiveness becomes a major point in the premise, man gives money to Catholic charity, and man encounters some nuns who bless him with the sign of the cross, plus homosexual content includes man walks into wrong hotel room where a homosexual man is waiting for another man and same-sex couple at a daycare center; at least 42 obscenities (mostly “s” and “a” words) and 12 profanities (several of them strong), plus an obscene gesture; some comical and slapstick violence includes pratfalls, cat in tree jumps and knocks man on ladder down to ground, cars crash trying to avoid two men in the road, and some physical fighting; sexual content involves lewd hotel room scene where wife in leather bra and panties handcuffs her husband and tries to seduce him into talking dirty and commanding her to sexually please him but kicks him out when he can’t talk, side character admits he has “furry sex” with a co-worker after hours where they dress up as animals, a couple references to homosexuality, and some crude comments about body parts; brief upper male nudity and some female cleavage; alcohol use and drunkenness; no smoking but side character says he once took some LSD and protagonist acts high when a mystical tree in his yard is sprayed with bug spray; and, lying, cheating, disingenuousness, and insincerity but rebuked, man tries to cut in line, frustrated wife mentions possibility of divorce.
A THOUSAND WORDS stars Eddie Murphy in a story about a lying, talkative literary agent who learns the importance of forgiveness and heals his broken family relationships. This positive premise is spoiled by lots of PG-13 foul language that becomes overbearing, some other crude or lewd elements, and the presence of a New Age self-help guru who also preaches forgiveness.
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.