Monday, September 10, 2012

‘The Words’ Needs More to Say

Dora (Zoe Saldana) comforts her husband (Bradley Cooper)
in the movie, "The Words." Photo: CBS Films

MOVIE REVIEW

Brian Klugman is someone to watch out for. Known primarily as a character actor, Klugman gained some fame as the writer of the Disney reboot, Tron: Legacy. Just two years later, he has served as writer, director and actor of the new drama, The Words.

With an interesting premise and a stellar cast, this one felt like a film that couldn’t miss, and yet it missed the mark by a bit. The Words is sort of a story within a story within a story. The main one features Rory, a struggling writer (Bradley Cooper) who can’t seem to get anyone interested in printing his story. By shear accident, he stumbles across another man’s unpublished manuscript and falls in love with the writing. So much so, that on a whim, he decides to retype the entire story. Unbeknownst to him, Rory’s wife Dora (Zoe Saldana) surprises him by submitting the book to a publisher behind Rory’s back. Due to a mixture of embarrassment and false pride, Rory allows the book to become published. Wouldn’t you know it? It becomes a best seller and Rory is on his way to fame.

The second story deals with a character billed only as “Old Man” (Jeremy Irons), who is the original writer of the story. His story is told through flashbacks with Ben Barnes and Nora Arnezeder playing the parts of “Young Man” and his young bride.

The third story, which may have audience members wondering, what are they even doing in this film? Dennis Quaid plays Clay Hammond, an author who has written the fictional story “The Words” based on the first story. He is pursued (stalked?) by college student Daniella (Olivia Wilde) who appears to know more than she is letting on about Hammond’s past.

Confused? Good. Then I am not the only one.

In addition to the three stories, the movie plays out similar to a three act play. It is very “talky” and the first third is great. The second part is all right, but has already lost some of its steam before it even gets started. You already know where this story is headed. By the time the movie ends, it leaves you with a very unsatisfying ending.

The acting is very good in The Words if you can get over Cooper’s strange smirk throughout the film. Perhaps that he is just a happy guy in real life, that he doesn’t have it in him to look serious when he needs to.

The Words is a morality tale about the pleasures and pitfalls of plagiarism with all of the male characters wishing that they could go back in time to right their wrongs. However, just like in real life, that isn’t so easy to do.

1 comment:

  1. Bradley is fine in the lead, but it’s Irons who steals this movie as soon as he has his 15 minutes of fame by the end. He’s easily the best thing about this movie and they sort of treat him like an old-joke. Nice review Jeffrey.

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