Lazy writing leads to forgettable ‘Words’

Nathan Fisher

Illustration by Erika Zinser

After a long week with, go figure, lots of homework, I welcomed the escape to my “job” at the movies. Like last week, none of the options grabbed me, so I succumbed to seeing “The Words,” a story-within-a-story, within another story or two. Unfortunately, all the stories sucked.

“The Words” opens with Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid) reading his new book to an adoring audience. In a slight twist on the “Inception” concept, the movie delves into Clay’s book, not his dreams. The novel’s main character is the handsome Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper), an aspiring novelist living in New York with his hot girlfriend Dora (Zoe Saldana). Rory unsuccessfully tries for years to get his work published and has to borrow money from dear old dad to pay the bills, and he finally gives up his writing aspirations for a real job. Cooper, as Rory, was a forgettable lazy slug who needed a kick in the butt.

Clay periodically reappears in the book gatherings and meets Danielle (Olivia Wilde), an aspiring writer who convinces Clay to keep telling her the story when they are alone. Rory and Dora get married and spend their honeymoon in Paris where they buy an antique briefcase. That’s right, you know what’s coming … something is in the briefcase! Back in the States, Rory opens the briefcase and finds a manuscript written during World War II. Yup, you know what’s coming again––it’s the Pulitzer that Rory has always dreamed about writing. Rory types up the manuscript, verbatim––hey, he types it himself, isn’t that enough work?––the book is published and becomes an instant sensation. Rory lives the good life until an old man (Jeremy Irons) approaches him claiming Rory stole not only his manuscript, but also his own life story! Another story starts, leading to another story as the young and old men tell their stories.

Ultimately, “The Words” falls flat, and the twist at the end can be seen from a mile away. It’s a shame that the cast of great actors just doesn’t seem to have much room to act. “The Words” offers too many “stories,” and this “bookception” fails to offer a seamless serious drama.