Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
The Words is a film that tries to be a bit too smart for its own good. It is a story within a story within a story, none of which are even the least bit interesting.
Dennis Quaid plays an author of a popular book called “The Words,” and is giving a reading of the book to an excited audience. As he reads, his characters and story are portrayed by Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana. Cooper plays a struggling author who happens upon an old manuscript, which he then publishes under his own name. The book is a massive hit and the author finally finds success. However, an old man (Jeremy Irons) is stalking him. Turns out, the old man was the original author.
That’s when the film hits ludicrous speed. When the old man (credited as simply “The Old Man”) confronts the author, he launches into a flashback of his own, describing his original inspiration for the manuscript in the first place. So in this film, even the flashbacks have flashbacks.
This movie reminded me of a recent episode of the hilarious Children’s Hospital on Comedy Central, in which this precise premise occurs – a character tells a story in which a character then tells another story, and soon you are about 15 layers deep into a flashback. This absurdity works great in a zany comedy…it doesn’t work at all in The Words.
None of the characters on any level of this film are worthy of our time. All of the actors do about as best they can given the hokey premise, but Dennis Quaid especially seems to have shown up for the paycheck.
Each layer of the film is meant to echo the other layers, but nothing really happens that matters. It seems to act as a cautionary tale about plagiarism, and how it is very bad to steal other people’s work.
For a film that alleges to be so concerned with story and words, The Words is shockingly bland.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Run Time: 1 hour 36 minutes, Rated PG-13
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Dennis Quaid, Jeremy Irons, Olivia Wilde
Written & Directed by Brian Klugman & Lee Sternthal (feature-film directorial debut for both)
Opens locally on Friday, September 7th, 2012
Looking for a specific movie or review?