A Thousand Words
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.
Talk about a movie having two sides to it. On the one hand Eddie Murphy’s character, Jack McCall, learns a lesson in this film, actually two, and they are that family must be a priority and letting go of anger and forgiveness is essential in order for one to have peace. And we hear a weighty comment which is that the last time you see a person, might be the last time you ever see them again. On the other side of the coin, coarse language is used including biblical profanity (GD and J) and a few characters use innuendos, and make a few explicit sexual comments, including referring to male genitalia in what are supposed to be funny scenes.
Before his change of heart, Jack ignores the valet who parks his car for him and who begs him to read his manuscript because he is a would-be-writer and Jack is an agent for a major publishing firm. Jack also habitually lies to get his own way and his focus is pretty much on himself. When someone learns his dad died the person says, “I’m sorry” and he replies, “I’m not,” because his father left the family when he was a young boy. Jack seldom visits his aged mother, living in a nursing home, because she calls Jack “Raymond” and believes he is his father, her husband, and not her son.
Ultimately, a tree winds up in Jack’s yard and every time he says a word a leaf falls. There are approximately one thousand leaves on the tree and once they are all gone, the tree will die and so will Jack. So he has to use his words sparingly and act out what he is trying to convey to people. Some genuinely funny moments occur, but you also have a bit of dime-store humor, such as when someone says a spiritual movement is needed, and Jack replies he has a spiritual movement when he eats bran muffins. Due to the sexual comments, strong language, and lyrics in a song about getting high we are unable to award our Dove Seal to this picture as a family-friendly film.