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The Words

by Louise Adams
Monday Dec 31, 2012
The Words

Bradley Cooper produces "The Words" and also stars as frustrated writer Rory Jansen. His wife Dora (Zoe Saldana) buys him an old leather satchel during their Paris honeymoon, which contains an unsigned manuscript.

Rory loves the story, so he retypes and submits it to the publishing house where he works as a mail guy, to instant success and acclaim. But the real author ("Old Man," played by Jeremy Irons) stalks and confronts Rory about his theft, recounting its creation while he was an American soldier in love, before and after WWII in France ("Young Man," Ben Barnes).

But, no, that's not quite enough layers for co-writers and co-directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal (who also perform as two characters, moving the film into ego-project territory). Wrapped around these nuggets is slightly skeezy Dennis Quaid as "The Words" book writer Clay Hammond, himself stalked by student fan Daniella (arch-eyebrowed Olivia Wilde). All the movie's intentions to explore the fickle nature of creativity don't add up to a hill of beans, but only result in a lot of earnest "blah blah blah," despite the solid cast (which also features cameos by Michael McKean and J.K. Simmons), interesting premise, and Cooper's ice-blue stare.

The Blu-ray extended special edition includes four featurettes: "Clay and Daniella" (the aging author/ripe student "outer" story); "The Young Man and Celia" (the "innermost" wartime Paris story); "Unabridged: A Look Behind the Scenes of 'The Words;'" and "'A Gentleman's Agreement:' A Look at How Bradley Cooper and the Filmmakers Found 'The Words.'" I found myself at a loss for words.

"The Words"

Louise Adams is a Chicago freelance writer at www.treefalls.com (and a nom de guerre).


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