In Under a Thousand – A Review of the New Murphy Film

First statement about A Thousand Words, if you’re looking for fast paced action Eddie à la Beverly Hills Cop or slapstick gut busting Eddie à la The Nutty Professor then proceed to the theaters with caution.  But if you are looking for a surprisingly more mature Eddie, with enough of his old funny mixed into a fairytale with an underlying story about finding one’s way to forgiveness, then A Thousand Words is for you.

Since I’m an Eddie fan from back in his SNL days, part of me wanted a little more of the “rolling in the theater aisle” comedy, but I did get to the end of the film and felt I would pay to see it again (considering many people in the screening Wednesday night did come close to “rolling in the aisle” with laughter several times, and I missed some of the movie!).  But I also came to a startling revelation while screening this movie.  Simply put, Eddie is getting old!  Not too old to have the beautiful Kerry Washington star opposite as his wife in this movie, of course, but old like he’s not the same comedian whose stand up performances had my mother’s hair graying prematurely when she learned I’d seen – multiple times :).  He’s delivered the kid friendly gems like Dr. Doolittle, Daddy Daycare, and the infamous Donkey character in the Shrek movies, survived past the box office bombs that were Meet Dave and Norbit (the latter wasn’t that bad if you ask me), and has progressed to maturer comedies like last year’sTower Heist or this most recent romp.  Now this film is rated PG-13 for adult language, suggestive sexual dialogue and some drug-related humor; although Eddie may want to note that the family movie Puss in Boots took the box office over Tower Heist last November during opening weekend, and maybe a few more family gems wouldn’t hurt ;).

Okay so back to the review of A Thousand Words.  The premise: a fast talking literary agent tries to sign a devout spiritual guru to a book deal, lies one to many times, and gets a curse placed on him in which he has as many words left before he dies as a tree in his backyard has leaves.  Oh, and the leaves fall as he uses his remaining words.  Did I mention that Eddie’s character is a married man?  With a son?  And a job that involves convincing people?  Yep, the setup makes for perfect joke material.  If I had to grade the laugh barometer, however, I would give it a B-, since sometimes I was in stitches and other times not as much, but the moral of this story is certainly A plus worthy.  Biggest thrill for me: Ruby Dee also co-stars!  I saw a couple of trailers before the film, most of which showed the hilarious John Witherspoon in his cameo as a blind pedestrian crossing the street beside a mum Eddie Murphy, but I had no idea the legendary Ruby Dee was also a part of this project.  And do I need to say that she dominates her scenes?

This film also co-stars a very funny Emanuel Ragsdale, as Eddie’s assistant Tyler, and Cliff Curtis as the spiritual guru Dr. Sinja.  It is also fairly short with a 91 minute running time, so it would make a good weekend matinée or is the perfect let’s see a quick flick after dinner choice if you’re looking for laughs and can suspend disbelief for an hour and a half.

Alright music movie lovers, that’s my weekend pick for film.  Check back in if you go see it and leave a comment below with your thoughts.  You can check out more of my movie picks for March/April in the previous post.  Also, check out and vote in the poll below (What’s your favorite Eddie Murphy film?).  Lastly, I want to give a shout out to my Reelblack movie family and to founder Mike D. for all the amazing work you guys do to promote “good movies ’bout Black folks!”  For those in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, check out their website at  (a yearly membership is only $30 and you get to screen great films at various local theaters). That’s really all, and yep in only 721 words!  True to title 🙂

Until next thought, Thomasena


  1. WOW…these reviews are Super Helpful (in the words of my teenage cousin). This will help me as I prepare for the viewing. Sounds like a great movie. Thanks for the post in 721 words…YOU LIVE!!!

    Fav Eddie Movie…not sure, maybe Boomerang


  2. This was a really good movie. I truly enjoyed seeing Eddie Murphy in a different Role. I loved most of his older movies and braved some of his newer ventures with my young nieces and nephews. This was a feel good, make you think a little bit kind of movie (or maybe just me because I have been accused to getting too wrapped up in work, lol). There were some cheesy moments of over-acting on Eddie’s part, but hey, it was entertaining, nonetheless. Thanks for the review. It was indeed helpful. I agree that the trailer didn’t do it justice, which I why we decided to see it only after reading the review. Had it not been for you, if it were left up to the trailer I saw, I certainly would not have disconnected myself from work to see it. 🙂


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