Say A Word
Michael Douglas, Brittany Murphy, Famke Janssen, Sean Bean, Patrick
Koster, Jennifer Esposito, Skye McCole Bartusiak, and Isabella
by: Gary Fleder
Say A Word had such a promising preview...Too bad it decided
to go off into Mediocre Land so quickly.
Douglas is great; he's just in the wrong movie. I'm sure the script
read intelligently enough, the makers just left out about seven
scenes that would help us, the audience, stay with them. Michael
seemed to be on a different page from the rest of the cast.
movie starts with the oh-so-done gem heist lead by Sean Bean.
But there's a double cross that's a shock and now
the revenge begins
but it's quickly ten years later.
a series of silly flashbacks that become repetitive and just mentally
frustrating, we are suppose to see the bad guy doublecrosser being
killed by the bad guy gang whom he double crossed. They are after
the gem he snagged, but they manage to kill him before they get
it. Oops. The gang knows, somehow, the doublecrosser's little
girl, who witnessed the killing,
knows were the gem is. So, after they all go to jail for killing
her dad they come after her.
Okay so far. Until the plot starts to rear it's diaphanous head.
The girl, now seventeen or so, Elisabeth Burrows (Brittany Murphy)
has been "hiding out" in state run mental institutions.
She's been in over twenty hospitals so far with the "I'm
so traumatized, I'm catatonic" routine. She gets her medicinal
cocktail of sedatives and mood enhancers but it has no effect
- sure. These professionals just can't get through to her.
psychiatrist extraordinaire, Dr. Conrad (Michael " Hey, this
bought me another condo in Bermuda folks" Douglas) is called
in, emergency style, by his ex-partner (we are lead to believe
by the contrived banter) to assist the girl before they lock her
up forever and throw away the key
The last ten or so years
she's been tossed around excluded of course.
Sachs (Oliver -should stick to Indies- Platt) explains to Dr.
Conrad they've got to get through to this girl and quick
for her own good. Within four frames Dr. Conrad figures out the
girl is scamming the hospital. She's not mental at all.
Her records show her as the child found wandering an island in
the middle of New York, and murdered "John Doe's" child.
That's her dad that was murdered in front of her
her name is Elisabeth Burrows though. Following me?
thing we know the bad guy gang, from the murder/heist ten years
ago, kidnaps Dr. Conrad's eight year old daughter, Jessie (Skye
McCole Bartusiak). Why? Seems catatonic gal Elisabeth has a number
locked away in her head they need to lead them to the gem.
How'd they know that? Who knows, the script didn't make us privy
to that information.
kidnapers want Dr. Sachs and Dr. Conrad to get that number for
them! Make her speak. The two are given a ridiculous deadline,
of eight hours, to retrieve this number from a girl, who remember,
all but the brilliant Dr Conrad believe to be a mental beef stew
first of many disappointments comes about here, when Dr. Conrad
appeals to Elisabeth.
He tells her about his daughter and pleads with her to help him.
She can't recall the number, but she does a 360° mental recovery
aside from the one or two bouts of flashback trauma of
the "day" she witnessed her dad's death. As if.
The next hour or so is filled with unexplained twists, and far
fetched scenarios that make an audience squirm with the obvious
in congruencies before them. The film's subplots and implausible
window of events all culminate in a truly ridiculous stand off
at a graveyard. I giggled more then once at the film's fallacies.
Too many to list.
on Oliver Platt. He has been doing some pretty blasé stuff
as of late. What happened to him? He's becoming "O-oh, Oliver's
in it? it's gonna suck." How sad.
Douglas was great, but when everything around a great performance
is annoying and mediocre who's going to care? He's looking like
a matured cutey bun too, he's still no blueberry bagel dripping
with oozing butter and toasted edges, but cute. Catherine's doing
girl playing Elisabeth, Brittany Murphy, started out believable
and strong. I think the script brought her performance grade down
to simply passing. Keep an eye out for her; she seemed to have
a rough shine within. Oddly I still feel like this after two suck
bag films. She was in Summer Catch.
Maybe she should think about a new agent? Or a script reader?
Dr Conrad's kidnaped daughter, played by a tiny Jodie Foster-esque
little actress Skye McCole Bartusiak, was a charming actress (besides
the hoity toity Hollywood moniker). Perhaps, a star in the making.
Famke Janssen shows up as the
bed ridden Mrs. Conrad. Her character delivers a handful of the
hundred or so "oh as if scenes" in the film. My eyes
still ache from the reactionary rolling around they suffered through
this farce. Famke's a great actress and here is no different,
but she's not given much at all; nadda to work with. Working with
poo is still working with poo after all.
Don't Say A
Word is a colossal thesaurus of disappointment adjectives. I'd
say wait for rental but there's just nothing that warrants even
Snack Recommendation: Pb&jelly sandwiches.