Posts Tagged ‘A Thousand Words’

Go gaga for gurus In Focus by Richard Crouse METRO CANADA Published: March 06, 2012

a_thousand_words-bottom-thumb-550x363-39898What do spiritual gurus and comedy have in common? More than you might think.

Deepak Chopra, possibly the world’s most famous guru, says,  “When your soul responds to the paradox of our existence, to the contradictions of our existence, to the fact that wherever there is joy there is suffering, when your soul recognizes this, it can do nothing except laugh.”

In other words, chuckle — it’s good for your soul.

These are words to live by, particularly if you are Eddie Murphy in A Thousand Words, opening this weekend. In this comedy, Murphy plays a shady literary agent who cheats a spiritual guru in a business deal.

His punishment teaches him the value of every word that comes out of his mouth.
A Thousand Words isn’t the first comedy to go gaga for gurus.

In the 1968 counter-culture hit I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!, Peter Sellers plays a 30-something who visits a maharishi for enlightenment. “You will know yourself when you stop trying,” he is told.  “I’m trying to stop trying,” Sellers replies.

A year later came The Guru, a movie that echoed the real-life musical journey of Beatle George Harrison’s internship with Ravi Shankar. Michael York starred as a famous British rock ‘n’ roller who travels from London to Bombay to study sitar at the feet of guru Ustad Zafar Khan.

Director James Ivory (who along with producer Ismail Merchant would go on to make Howard’s End and The Remains of the Day) called The Guru “the most unseen and mysterious of our movies … Merchant Ivory’s version of a ‘60s trip.”

Sharing a title is the 2002 Jimi Mistry film about a young Indian man who moves to New York with dreams of becoming an actor but instead becomes a sex guru who doles out catchphrases such as, “the most powerful sexual organ is your brain.”

In The Love Guru, Mike Myers mixed gross-out humour with spiritualism, a combo that proved toxic for both audiences and critics.

Even Mike’s own guru agreed it flopped.

“Humour mixed with spirituality can work, if it’s done well,” Deepak Chopra, who has a cameo in the film, said. “But frankly speaking, this was not a good attempt.”

So what exactly do gurus and comedy have in common? Myers says he learned from Chopra that “ha ha” is related to “ah ha,” the sound one makes upon the realization of truth.” Maybe it’s that simple.


a_thousant_words_04“A Thousand Words” is billed as a comedy but I see it as something else entirely. I see it as a tragedy—a tragic waste of Eddie Murphy’s talent. He’s in virtually every scene but his wide eyed mugging for the camera—there hasn’t been this on-screen mugging since the first “Death Wish” movie (only movie geeks will get that joke)—isn’t funny, it’s annoying.

Reteaming with “Norbet” director Brian Robins, Eddie Murphy plays Jack McCall, a fast talking literary agent who doesn’t read and who double-crosses new age guru Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis) on a book deal. Soon after, a magical Bodhi tree erupts through the ground in Jack’s backyard. The tree will shed one leaf for every word McCall says, and after one thousand leaves have fallen, the true nature of the tree’s curse will be revealed.

“A Thousand Words” is such an unpleasant movie going experience that the loud fire alarm that rang intermittently in the theatre during the film was a welcome relief to what was happening on screen. At least the fire alarm had some element of urgency to it, unlike the film, which seemed to think that allowing Murphy to pull faces at the camera for ninety minutes was enough to flesh out the story.

When the best joke in the movie is “I’m going to the ashram and ram this up his a**,” you begin to understand why this movie has been sitting on a shelf for four years awaiting a release date.

I can sum up my thoughts on “A Thousand Words” in far less than a thousand words: Don’t go. Save your money.