“Words” not to live by
Dull. Slow. Predictable. These are the words to describe “The Words.” While not completely irredeemable, anyone who dislikes experiencing pure boredom should steer clear from this dud. With an unoriginal premise and a pace that moves like wet cement, the film is easily one of the worst of the year.
“The Words” is actually a story within a story. While at an event, successful novelist, Clay Hammond, reads from his latest book about a struggling writer named Rory Jansen. After Jansen discovers an old manuscript and gets it published as his own work, he attains the literary recognition he has always craved. But when the novel’s real author approaches Jansen and tells him of the book’s true, painful origins, Jansen must decide whether to give into his conscience and reveal himself as a fraud. Meanwhile, Hammond becomes acquainted with a fan at the event that seems to know everything about him – including a haunting secret.
The film only lasts an hour and 36 minutes but feels much, much longer. The concept of a person stealing another’s work has been played out many times before, but “The Words” acts as if its premise is completely fresh; as a result, there is nothing new to the story. Additionally, the characters are depressing, almost every scene seems bleak, and Hammond’s “secret” is obvious from the beginning. To top it all off, the movie’s ending is unsatisfactorily ambiguous, leaving you with the feeling that you just sat through a bad film for nothing. The careers of first-time writers and directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal are off to an inauspicious start with this debut.
The movie’s saving grace is its acting. The entire cast gives remarkable performances that draw viewers into what is otherwise an uninteresting plot. Bradley Cooper proves himself as more than just a comedic actor with his compelling turn as Jansen. Jeremy Irons gives a heartfelt, moving portrayal of the Old Man who really writes Jansen’s book. And though he has a relatively small part, Dennis Quaid is memorable as the enigmatic Hammond.
The stellar performances, were shining lights amid a plethora of darkness. Overall, unless you have a bad case of insomnia, try reading a book if you want to see words.
The Setonian gives this movie 2 out of 5 stars.
Sean Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.