“The Words” — an annoying movie about how cheaters don’t win

By Eleanor Ringel Cater

The word for the movie — “The Words” — is…disappointment.

No, it’s more like, pretentious.

Or maybe, annoying.

Okay, let’s go with…drivel.

Sputtering along like Nicolas Sparks Lite (Liter than Lite?), the movie is a movie within a movie within a movie, give or take a movie. Like “Inception” without Christopher Nolan or Leo or Marion Cotillard or tumbling buildings or a spinning top — that’s right; minus any of the parts with the slightest bit of interest. And even then, I’m giving the spinning top the benefit of the doubt.

“The Words” begins with A Celebrated Writer (Dennis Quaid) reading from his new book, “The Words,” at some prestigious-looking Literary Event.

Quaid’s book, called “The Burning Tree” (yes, they pretty much lost me right there), is the tale of a Struggling Young Author (Bradley Cooper) who lives in one of those ubiquitous romantic garrets (or basements) in post-World War II Paris where he hopes to become the next Hemingway.

By any means necessary, as it turns out

Lucky Cooper has a gorgeous wife (Zoe Saldana, wasted) who provides precisely what gorgeous women do in stories like this: food, sex and support

Soooo, while Cooper nearly breaks his neck stumbling over an insurmountable writer’s block, she remains a True Believer. Which is why she buys him a battered old briefcase in an antique store. He’s touched of course, but what really lights his fire is a yellowed manuscript hidden inside the briefcase.

And he can’t help himself. As screenwriters/co-directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, who gave us the deathless words for “Tron: Legacy,” put it, “He just wanted to feel the words pass through his fingers.”

Sort of like A-List plagiarists Jonah Lehrer and Jayson Blair, I imagine.

And is it really his fault that gorgeous cooks-as-good-as-she-looks Mrs. Struggling Young Author thinks those words are his?

Remember, he “just wanted to feel the words …”

Before Cooper can say, “But what I really want to do is direct,” fame has him in its glittering clutches. All would be well — after all, he’s got years to write something himself — if only a scraggly old man with mournful Jeremy Irons Eyes didn’t turn up (played by a scraggly Jeremy Irons with those you-know-what eyes). Apparently, he knows a few things about that battered old briefcase and its yellowing manuscript.

I may have dozed off at that point or gone to get those Raisinets I’d been thinking about, but when I re-focused, I figured that what “The Words” is trying to get at is something like this: cheaters don’t win and winners don’t cheat.

Or maybe something as simple as: when words pour out of you, it’s easier when they are somebody else’s words. But in the end, you’ll…?

So here’s our moral fulcrum: The Truth may or may not out. And it may be up to you, the writer (or the plagiarist) to make that decision.

My theory — being, I’ll bet, the only one among us to have seen both “Tron” and “Tron: Legacy,” is that “The Words” may be some sort of convoluted confession by Klugman and Sternthal.

They are pleading with us to believe they found the script for “Tron: Legacy” behind a battered old “Pirates of the Caribbean” call sheet. And their wives liked it so much that….

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I don't know what the reviewerstalking about? I enjoyed  the movie The Words and everyone in it. Yes, cheaters never win and let should tell you if you can't do it yourself(write a book) don't take someone elses ideas it'll bit you in the ass in the long run. CAP

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 @Pravda What an ugly Comment, and what an appropriate screen name (“Pravda”), because these remarks have about as much value as most of what has appeared in that esteemed propaganda publication over the years. I don’t know about the screenplay-versus-story issue, but I do know that Eleanor is great and neither poor nor old. Eleanor, please ignore this nasty Comment. 


 @GreenLantern  Perhaps Eleanor is "great" as a person. She certainly has a funny way of showing it by her uptight, bitchy tone in this "review". What is not great and what I tend to loathe about certain critics is there sense of entitlement to reduce writers and directors work, YEARS of work down to one word reviews. Drivel? These dudes spent all those years and got Jeremy Irons to do make some sweet drivel?


Its absurd and irresponsible to be so cavelier and personal. And this  crack about their "wives"?


What did this film try to accomplish? What did it or did or not accomplish, specifically? Be CONSTRUCTIVE. Discuss the tone, the style the themes. The acting.


Of course movies can be terrible.  But "The Words", despite its faults is hardly drivel and I found this reviewers tone that one of a bitter old bitch, to be honest.

Making theses half assed comment about "Cheaters never win". And raisonettes. WHAT?

You are a film reviewer? 

@GreenLantern, your jackass comment about Russian propaganda proves to me that you chose a perfect friend in Eleanor. Inane nonsense. To je Pravda, ty vole.