Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana share some boring pillow talk in one of two new movies up against TIFF.
THE WORDS written and directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, with Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Dennis Quaid and Jeremy Irons. An Alliance release. 96 minutes. Opens Friday (September 7). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NN
The Words is a literary movie for people who really, really like airport paperbacks.
Though it has the glossy exoticism a certain subset of moviegoers has come to associate with highbrow entertainment, it's as shallow as a puddle and as dumb as a post. But there's kissing and tragedy and French people and Jeremy Irons wearing a scarf, so it's basically critic-proof.
Bradley Cooper's Rory is a struggling writer whose big break comes in the form of a manuscript he finds in a battered old valise his wife, Dora (Zoe Saldana), buys for him in Paris. Published as his own work through a series of wacky misunderstandings, the manuscript makes him a literary star and brings him to the attention of the embittered old man (Irons) whose work it actually is.
As Rory and the old man have a heated conversation in Central Park, the movie shows us the story in question - the purplish tale of a GI who stays in France after the Second World War, falls for a local girl and learns that love brings pain. Remember the heat between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in The Notebook? Yeah, well, it's nothing like that.
Writer/directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal pour on the syrup and the nostalgia, adding another layer of faux literary distance with a master narrative that sees the tale of Rory, Dora and the old man being read to us by author Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid), who has written a book called The Words.
But has Clay - who certainly seems like he could be an older, wiser Rory - written The Words as a means of finally confessing his sins? An alluring literary hanger-on (Olivia Wilde) thinks so, but there's a twist: the movie doesn't really care. It's just about people standing around looking tormented in bespoke shirts, hoping that long pauses and an insistent soundtrack will do the work for them.