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The long-shelved comedy "A Thousand Words," filmed in 2008, is the sort of awful formulaic crud that "30 Rock" brilliantly mocked just before Leap Day: A fast-talking guy — a lawyer, stockbroker, or whatever — is cursed with a supernatural curse, causing him (usually played by Jim Carrey, but in this case Eddie Murphy) to freak out hilariously, then calm down and discover how to be a better husband, father and/or human being.

Here, Murphy plays Jack McCall, a literary agent who tries to fast-talk a mystical guru (Cliff Curtis), whose bodhi tree magically sprouts in Jack's backyard. The tree loses a leaf every time Jack utters a word, and when all the leaves are gone, the tree and Jack will both die.

Jack suddenly has to clam up, causing consternation for his wife (Kerry Washington, who doesn't deserve the humiliation she gets here), his put-upon assistant (Clark Duke), his boss (Allison Janney) and even his favorite Starbucks barista (Jack McBrayer, speaking of "30 Rock").

Murphy and director Brian Robbins complete their trilogy of crap collaborations (begun with "Norbit" and "Meet Dave") with a wheezing comedy that's clumsy in its humor and utterly false in its heartwarming finale.


'A Thousand Words'

Opens Friday, March 9, at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for sexual situations including dialogue, language and some drug-related humor; 91 minutes.