It won’t take me more than an adjective and an acronym to describe Eddie Murphy’s latest failed attempt at comedy, “A Thousand Words.” Here is what I emailed a friend: “OMG. Horrible.”

It won’t take me more than an adjective and an acronym to describe Eddie Murphy’s latest failed attempt at comedy, “A Thousand Words.” Here is what I emailed a friend: “OMG. Horrible.”


Since I have space to fill, I must reluctantly elaborate. Brian Robbins, who directed Murphy in the turkey “Norbit,” also helms this apocalyptic train wreck, which was written by Steve Koren, who also penned last year’s Adam Sandler dud, “Jack and Jill.” Enough said.


Not more than three minutes in, we’re presented a baby poop joke, and it’s all downhill from there – including bits about granny panties and furries. Murphy, who is in every scene, is relentless in his misguided attack on our funny bones. I felt embarrassed for him. He was once so terrific in “Raw,” “48 Hours” and “Beverly Hills Cop.” Here, he’s playing Jack McCall, a self-centered bully of a book agent trying to close a deal with a Deepak Chopra-like healer, Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis.)


Somewhere along the line, McCall gets cursed and has only 1,000 words left to say before he dies. A magic tree sprouts in his back yard. Every time he speaks or writes a word, a leaf drops from a branch.


Ruby Dee, totally slumming, is McCall’s mother. Clark Duke (“Hot Tub Time Machine”) phones in the usual one-note routine as the put-upon assistant. Kerry Washington has the misfortune of being cast as Jack’s unhappy wife.


What ensues is a tone-deaf sampling from better films – “Liar, Liar,” “Yes, Man,” “Shallow Hal.” There is nothing – not one plot point or one line of dialogue – that is original. The setup is McCall has to stop being a jerk and appreciate life. Enter Dr. Sinja.


In between ghostly flashbacks, attempted poignancy, marital discord and lots of Starbucks Venti Lattes with three shots of espresso (blatant product placement) are bits of Murphy mugging. Redemption – and the end credits – can’t come fast enough.


A THOUSAND WORDS (PG-13 for sexual situations including dialogue, language and some drug-related humor). Cast includes Eddie Murphy, Kerry Washington, Clark Duke, Cliff Curtis. Zero stars.


Dana Barbuto may be reached at dbarbuto@ledger.com.