A Thousand Words
By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Disappointing comedy about self-reflection has sexy stuff.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A Thousand Words' basic messages are that people should think before they speak and not spout so many meaningless lies. As in most family dramas, the main character learns that he needs to be there for his son, unlike his own father. He also realizes that his job should come second to his family's needs. The benefits of being quiet and observing are also promoted.
Positive Role Models
Caroline is a wonderful mother and a generous wife who tries to work at her marriage and communicating with her husband. Jack goes from being a terrible role model to someone who's discovered the importance of self reflection, thinking before he speaks, and making every word count. He also realizes that he needs to be a role model to his son, even though his own father wasn't there for him.
Violence & Scariness
No overt violence, but lots of physical comedy, plus a moment in which Jack looks like he has died. Jack playfully slaps Aaron, and later Aaron tackles and pushes Jack to get him to be quiet.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One extended scene of humorous foreplay featuring Caroline in a dominatrix-style outfit. She handcuffs her husband (who's wearing only his boxers) and demands that he "talk dirty" and "naughty" to her. She makes suggestive comments about all she will "do" if he asks her. Throughout the movie, she wears sexy outfits and a cleavage-baring negligee. Caroline and a friend discuss whether her husband is "getting some" and "getting ass." Aaron makes comments about his "sexual hunger" for a furry fetish he and another assistant have indulged in at the office.
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The words "s--t," "bulls--t," and "ass" are used frequently. Other language includes "damn," "d--k," "goddamn," "crap," "hell," "pecker," "oh my God," and the Spanish word "cojones."
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Products & Purchases
Starbucks is so prominently featured in the movie that it might as well have produced the film. Jack is an espresso addict, and he goes to the same Starbucks daily. Many scenes take place at the Starbucks, and the barista is even a supporting character in the movie. Absolut vodka is shown briefly in one scene.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink hard liquor and cocktails at various lunch and dinner meetings, including vodka, martinis, beer, etc. Jack wants to get drunk in one scene and starts drinking straight from the bottle.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Thousand Words is an Eddie Murphy comedy with some adult themes about family and marriage that may not interest or be appropriate for tweens. Language includes frequent uses of "s--t" and "ass," but there are no F-bombs. The nature of a marriage after a baby is discussed several times, and, in one sequence, a wife tries to seduce her husband by donning a dominatrix outfit and demanding that he "talk dirty." Starbucks is featured prominently in the film, and a barista is even a supporting character. On the bright side, there's a positive message about putting family first and finding inner peace and forgiveness.
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A Thousand Words
Based on 7 parent reviews
Eddie @ His Best
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What's the Story?
Jack (Eddie Murphy) is an overly caffeinated, fast-talking literary agent who's used to closing even the most resistant of authors. To land Dr. Sanji (Cliff Curtis), a Deepak Chopra-like spiritual leader, as his client, Jack lies and pretends to believe in Sanji's path toward inner peace. Soon, a mysterious tree shoots up in Jack's backyard, and with every word Jack says, a leaf falls. Desperate for answers, Jack enlists Sanji for help, but the guru only states the obvious -- that he has about 1,000 words left until he, and the tree, die. Unable to speak (or write) words, Jack reverts to outrageous gestures and utterances to communicate with everyone in his life, leaving his wife, boss, assistant, and local barista exasperated.
Is It Any Good?
It feels trite at this point to state that Murphy is a gifted comedian; he obviously is, but he apparently doesn't mind making every movie offered to him at a certain price. It's not that A THOUSAND WORDS is completely unwatchable -- it's simply forgettable. Murphy does this manic shtick by rote after so many years. He contorts his face and moves his body like all experts at physical comedy, but it's eye-rollingly banal.
Even the movie's concept, with its Zen-like message about forgiveness and family, is basically the same derivative plot line as every single other comedy about a slick, overworked dad who finally realizes that he's sacrificing too much for the sake of his day job. It's always fun to see 30 Rock's Jack McBrayer (who plays Jack's regular barista), but the reliance on Starbucks as not just a product placement but as a repeated setting in the movie is a bit off-putting. Murphy's die-hard fans will be pleased to see him vamp and improvise, but those looking for a worthy new comedy should look elsewhere for their cinematic fulfillment.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about A Thousand Words' message of work versus family life. Why do so many movies feature the same basic premise about a workaholic father who finally realizes his family should come first?
Starbucks is shown again and again. How do you feel about a brand being so prominently featured in a film?
What's the message about how people communicate? How does silence change Jack's perspective and attitude?
- In theaters: March 9, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: June 26, 2012
- Cast: Clark Duke, Eddie Murphy, Kerry Washington
- Director: Brian Robbins
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual situations including dialogue, language and some drug-related humor
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
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