It’s kind of upsetting that the critics are being so harsh towards The Words, especially since it looks like one of his best performances yet. But then again, most critics eviscerate most movies these days. So I wouldn’t worry too much about what the critics are saying.
CBS Films wasn’t designed to make blockbusters. CBS Films was designed to make movies with big stars on a small budget and turn a solid profit. It’s important to remember that as you read some of today’s scathing reviews tied to its latest film “The Words.”
The new drama stars Bradley Cooper as a writer who rises to great fame with his debut novel; however the problem is he didn’t write it. Cooper’s character, Rory Jansen, actually stumbled upon another writer’s draft and passed it off as his own to jumpstart his career. Now as his popularity swells he must contend with his mistake when the original author makes contact.
On paper, it’s not a bad concept…granted it’s also one that’s been done before. However the appeal here is clearly its cast which along with Cooper includes Zoe Saldana (Cooper’s on-again, off-again girlfriend in real life), Olivia Wilde, Ben Barns, Dennis Quaid and Oscar winner Jeremy Irons. It’s also worth noting that Quaid is fronting CBS’ new Western “Vegas,” which debuts at the end of the month. (Nice synergy!)
Yet the critics have not been kind to the drama as reviewers have been falling all over themselves today to come up with their own choice “words” about the movie.
“It would have been more fun if I’d brought something to throw at the screen” – Dana Stevens, Slate.com
“A well-acted but narratively limp indie that’s undermined by a failure to connect emotionally with its audience.” – Jen Chaney, The Washington Post
“Bradley Cooper’s funniest movie since “The Hangover” – unfortunately, unintentionally this time …” – Lou Lumenick , New York Post
Lumneick actually takes it a step further in titling his review “Bradley Stupor.” Either way, you get the point. Surprisingly though it has also actually managed to find some big name supporters.
“A clever, entertaining yarn that doesn’t bear close scrutiny.” Steven Holden, New York Times
“This is a film that’s thoughtful and elegant, with just enough loose strings to keep things intriguing.” – Tom Long, The Detroit News
However with only a 15% fresh rating from film review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, it is clear “The Words” isn’t going to win any big awards. Once again though it’s important to remember the overall context as reportedly the movie was made for just $6 million; which coincidentally is how much it is expected to make this weekend at the box office.
Anything over that is mostly profit and factoring in what it could earn through international release, DVD sales and cable deals “Words” could end up making money. Of course that won’t be in the headlines as the box office continues to deal with a slump that has burned a number of big summer Hollywood tentpoles.
Instead the story will be that if “Words” or any of the current crop of movies fails to make over $10 million, it will mark the first time since 2008 that it is happen. You have to go back to Nicolas Cage’s “Bangkok Dangerous,” which only managed $7.8 million.
Still you have to give CBS Films some credit as they have managed to turn profits on a number of their hits (debut entry “Extraordinary Measures” notwithstanding). Earlier in the year Daniel Radcliffe’s “The Woman In Black” pulled in the studio’s highest opening weekend ever with $20 million (on its way to a $50+ million haul).
So as you read this weekend’s reviews remember looks can be deceiving…sometimes.
So what’s your take New York? Are you planning on seeing “The Words?” Hit the comments and let us know.