Starring Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid
Plagiarism: Why do some people do it? From an outsider’s point of view, it seems like a cut and dry issue…don’t do it. But what if it was you, faced with trying to achieve something you know deep down inside you can’t accomplish…but, with someone else’s words, you could? What if you found yourself with material that no one would ever know belong to someone else, would you do it? That right there is at the heart of The Words. An interesting idea about the riches and repercussions of making someone else’s words your own. To bad The Words is a boring, useless, uninspired film that should’ve ended up being a TV movie of week on the Lifetime channel.
But before we delve into that, let’s talk about the simple yet tries too hard to be deep and complicated story that is The Words. Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper) lives in New York with his wife Dora (Zoe Saldana). He’s a struggling writer, working in the mail room of a publishing company and borrowing money from his dad. On his honeymoon to Paris, Dora purchases an old briefcase found in an antique store for Rory. Later found in this briefcase is a story. Rory, transfixed by this story, decides to pass it off as his own. Fame and awards follow…so does the old man (Jeremy Irons) who is the writer of the material found in the bag.
But wait, that in itself is just a story, being read to us by another writer, Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid). But wait… there is some mystery involved with Clay, whose own life is in turnaround and becomes a little bit more complicated by fan Daniella (Olivia Wilde) who has the hots for Clay. But wait… what about Rory and the old man? But wait… what of this mystery with Clay and the secret he may be hiding? My God how is all this going to play out?
There is an intriguing story buried in The Words, but the movie is all surface level dialogue and storytelling…like the kind you find on a TV movie of the week on the Lifetime Channel. The movie would rather place nice than challenge you with the dilemma’s it presents. Take the story within a story of Rory and the old man. Stealing another man’s words is one thing, being confronted and having to deal with that situation is another. But The Words just wants to show you the dilemma, not get into psychological ramifications or damage done of acting on impulses to better your life.
And the secret that Clay may be holding onto? Well, if you see The Words, it won’t take you long to figure out what it is. Without it, the character really has no place in the movie, just live Olivia Wilde’s character. The real writers of this movie could’ve done more with that storyline, about the real desire of Daniella wanting to know Clay or Clay’s relationship with his book, his personal life and blurring the lines between the two.
The only real saving grace is the performance by Jeremy Irons. He tries his best with what he has and that’s what good actors do. Too bad it wasn’t in a better movie.
If you really want to go see a movie this weekend, avoid this useless 1 hour and 40 minutes of fllm. No one involved with this project seemed to care, so you might as well do the same.