From Beverly Hills Cop to perfect flop: critics rate Eddie Murphy movie at 0%


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The Independent Culture

Even the most dreadful films are usually able find one or two positive reviews that film studios can selectively quote to display on promotional posters.

When it comes to Eddie Murphy's latest offering, that may be tricky – so far not one positive review has been written about it. One Thousand Words, which finished filming in 2009 but has been delayed several times, has drawn such venom from critics that some observers are already referring to it as the worst movie in history.

The film achieved a remarkable 0 per cent rating on website Rotten Tomatoes, which collates reviews written about films in the national and international press. Of the 39 reviews currently on the site, all are unremittingly negative, with critics from The New York Times to the blogosphere united in their hatred of the comedy.

"Only the most masochistic connoisseurs of the truly awful need check it out," wrote Brian Tallerico, of Claudia Puig, of USA Today, said: "The concept is unoriginal, the scenarios aren't funny and its message is banal. Plus, Murphy alternately hams it up and phones it in." Justin Chang, of Variety, dismissed it as a "tortured exercise in high-concept spiritualist hokum".

In the film, Murphy plays a fast-talking book agent who is cursed by a new-age guru after some ethically dubious behaviour. Murphy's character, Jack McCall, wakes up one day to discover a tree in his back garden that sheds its leaves when he talks. The guru tells McCall that he will die when the tree sheds its last leaf and a journey of self-discovery akin to that which Jim Carrey undertook in Liar, Liar ensues. The film is not expected to reach the top five at the box office upon its release this weekend, despite costing a reported $70m (£45m), and some have suggested it may be the final nail in the coffin for Murphy's career.

Despite his current run of critically panned films (see Norbit and Meet Dave), it was not always so. He drew huge audiences in the 1980s through hits like Beverly Hills Cop and Coming to America. In 2007, he was nomimated for an Academy Award for a supporting role in Dreamgirls.