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March 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Except for the fact that his latest movie will almost certainly turn out to be a flop, Eddie Murphy emerges virtually unscathed from the scathing reviews that A Thousand Words is receiving. Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune calls him “a first-rate talent stuck in yet another third-rate piece of blech.” The title of the movie has something to do with the fact that the principal character is the victim of a kind of curse that allows him to speak only a thousand words. Speak one word more than a thousand and he dies. Thus, the poster of Murphy showing him with his mouth taped over or covering his mouth with his hands. “As a promotional idea,” writes Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times, that “ranks right up there with Fred Astaire in leg irons.” (Of course, Ebert himself lost the ability to speak as a result of a cancer operation in 2006. The movie shows the Murphy character engaged in all manner of physical contortions to communicate. “I think what I’d try is writing notes,” he advises.) Likewise, Liam Lacey in the Toronto Globe and Mail observes, “The idea of taking one of Hollywood’s best-known motor-mouths and reducing him to mugging and charades is definitely novel — and utterly misguided.” But Mark Jenkins in the Washington Post suggests that all that critical vitriol may be unjustified. The movie, he says, may merely be “more bland than actively bad.”