Tuesday Sep 11 2012
‘The Words’ need some new ones
By: Frank Miller Special to The News Messenger
"The Words" Directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zoë Saldana and Jeremy Irons Rating: Two out of five stars ‘The Words’ need some new ones By Frank Miller Special to The News Messenger When a writer steals the work of another man and publishes it as his own, he has to face the truth about his deeds and his own limitations in "The Words." The film tells the story of Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper), a struggling author trying to make ends meet while living in New York with his wife, Dora (Zoë Saldana). While on his honeymoon, Rory acquires an old leather case that just so happens to contain a truly remarkable unpublished work of fiction. Because the pages are old and contain no attribution of authorship, Rory decides to pass the writing off as his own, something that brings him a huge amount of recognition and acclaim. However, upon opening Rory's book and seeing his stolen words, an old man who actually wrote the novel (Jeremy Irons) decides to confront Rory about his deceit. Even if you can forgive the highly convenient nature of each of the film’s plot points, "The Words" still doesn't contain any compelling drama. It's a tremendously ponderous and melancholy film that mistakes circumstantial details for thought-provoking art. That Irons' character confronts Rory about the theft is inconsequential. It's just an act that happens. However, how those actions inform the characters and sometimes how it reflects on a viewer is what makes a film impactful. However, all of those moments in "The Words" fall flat and they're not helped at all by some truly distracting performances. Irons plays an American but can't mask his British accent at all. It's possible he didn't even try. Dennis Quaid and Olivia Wilde appear in the film and have almost no effect at all. Also, it's a little poetic that a film about a struggling writer is also poorly written. "The Words" is an ill-conceived film that thinks too highly of itself despite its obvious shortcomings. Perhaps it’s best if you skip this one and read a really good (non-plagiarized) book instead. Frank Miller is a Sacramento writer.