A Thousand Words

A Thousand Words Information

A Thousand Words is a 2012 comedy-drama film starring Eddie Murphy and directed by Brian Robbins. It was released in theaters on March 9, 2012, four years after it was filmed in 2008. It received universally negative reviews and failed at the box office.


Jack McCall (Eddie Murphy) is a literary agent who uses his 'gift of gab' to get various book deals, and he isn't afraid to stretch the truth to get them. While he is trying to get a book deal from a New Age self-help guru named Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis), the guru sees through his deceit and agrees to the deal, only to later deliver a five-page book. That night, a Bodhi tree magically appears in his backyard, with a thousand leaves. Dr. Sinja goes to Jack's house and they both discover that for every word that Jack says, a leaf will fall off of the tree. When the tree runs out of leaves, the tree will die, along with Jack. In time, he finds that even written words count towards his limit; plus anything that happens to the tree will also affect Jack. When Jack tries to cut it down with an axe, an axe wound appears on him. When squirrels climb the tree, it tickles him. When a gardener tries to poison it with DDT, Jack gets high on the fumes.

With Jack forced to pick and choose his words, communicating with others becomes difficult and full of misunderstandings. These misunderstandings cost him two book deals, his job, and his wife Caroline (Kerry Washington). She walks out on him when she thinks his sudden silence is due to him not loving her anymore. When he tries to explain the tree to her, she doesn't believe him. Only Jack's assistant Aaron (Clark Duke) realizes he is telling the truth, and goes to Jack's house to keep track of how many leaves remain.

With his life falling apart and the tree running out of leaves, Jack confronts Dr. Sinja and asks how to end the curse. The guru tells him to make peace in all of his relationships. With just one branch of leaves left, Jack tries to reconcile with Caroline, but she remains hesitant. He visits his mother (Ruby Dee), who lives in an assisted-living center and has dementia. She tells Jack, who she thinks is Jack's late father Raymond, that she wishes Jack would stop being angry at his father for walking out on them when he was a kid. Jack, realizing that this is the relationship that needs the most mending, goes to visit his father's grave. Jack expends the last three leaves of the tree with the words, "I forgive you". With no leaves remaining, Jack suffers a heart attack and appears to have died. Jack's cellphone rings, and it is Aaron. Jack, who is still alive, answers his phone. Aaron tells him that the tree's leaves have magically reappeared and Jack can now talk freely again.

Jack and Caroline get back together, with Jack buying the family-friendly house Caroline asked for earlier, and the tree is in their front yard. He doesn't get his job back (Aaron was promoted to Jack's old position), but he writes a book about his experience, called A Thousand Words, and gets Aaron to make the deal. (Unfortunately for Aaron, his promotion caused him to be like Jack was, thus he gets his own smaller office tree.)


  • Eddie Murphy as Jack McCall
  • Clark Duke as Aaron
  • Cliff Curtis as Dr. Sinja
  • Kerry Washington as Caroline McCall
  • Steve Little as Co-Worker
  • Allison Janney as Samantha Davis
  • John Witherspoon as Blind Old Man
  • Jack McBrayer as Starbucks Coffee Employee
  • Kayla Blake as Emily
  • Lennie Loftin as Robert Gilmore
  • Ruby Dee as Annie McCall
  • Alain Chabat as Christian Léger de la Touffe
  • Ted Kennedy as Homeless Man


A Thousand Words was filmed in 2008 in Los Angeles, California and was supposed to be released in 2009, but was repeatedly delayed after being caught up in the separation of DreamWorks Pictures from Paramount Pictures and Viacom. During an interview for Fred: The Movie, director Brian Robbins stated that the film would be released in 2011. Reshoots were done on the film early in 2011.

The film was then given a January 2012 release, but after Murphy was announced as Oscar host (he later stepped down), the film was given a release of March 23, 2012; this was later pushed to April 20, 2012 before opening in American theaters on its official release date of March 9, 2012.


Box office

The film earned $18,450,127 in North America, along with $2,108,709 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $20,558,836, barely half of its estimated production budget of $40 million.

Critical response

The film has received a harsh response from film critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 0%, or an average rating of 3.2 out of 10, based on reviews from 54 critics. The consensus on Rotten Tomatoes is that "[d]ated 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." The site also gave the film their Moldy Tomato award for the worst-reviewed film of 2012.

The Guardian commented that "Everyone, it seems, is united by A Thousand Words awfulness." However, critic Armond White praised the film as "the most personal Hollywood critique since Clifford Odets' The Big Knife.

Plans for a British release date of June 8, 2012 were cancelled due to unidentified difficulties, and the film was instead released direct-to-DVD on July 16, 2012.


A Thousand Words was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards.

33rd Golden Raspberry Awards

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "A_Thousand_Words_%28film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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