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If you saw the initial teaser trailer for The Words, you probably had the same thought I did: Looks like a possibly decent suspense mystery, bordering on thriller. But If that's what you're expecting you will be sorely disappointed. I was.
Alternating between World War II and present day, The Words follows a wannabe literary sensation (The Hangover’s Bradley Cooper) who suffers through the creation of a few unpublished novels before discovering an unpublished story he wishes he had the ability to write.
It turns out an old man living in anonymity (Oscar-winner Jeremy Irons) is the story’s writer and thinly veiled protagonist, and as the two men’s lives cross paths, he tells the rest of the story for the plagiarist in order to teach him a lesson.
There are a few other characters, but to say too much about them would spoil a few key plot twists. Still, in brief, there’s Cooper’s wife (Zoe Saldana), another writer (Dennis Quaid) and girl whose purpose remains unknown even after the move ends (Olivia Wilde). I'm convinced they wrote something for Olivia Wilde just because they wanted another pretty face. Since the gorgeous Zoe Saldana wasn't enough?
As written and directed by the tandem of Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, The Words is decent but immediately forgettable, mostly because I figured out the ending long before the film’s halfway point, and when the climax comes it’s abrupt and a let-down. The picture aims to create a deep and profound relationship between the old man and the frustrated writer, but what they end up with is an old man telling a little boy he was bad for stealing.
So if that’s the moral -- “Do not plagiarize” -- well, duh. It’s well-meaning but obvious, and that’s probably the best Twitter-friendly kind of review for The Words. I didn’t really harbor any bad opinions of the film, or really any opinion at all, which certainly can’t be a good thing. Mostly, I'm just really glad The Words was not in novel form so I didn't end up wasting more than an hour and a half of my life on it. (**)