After making Norbit and Meet Dave, Eddie Murphy reunited in 2008 with the directorial mastermind behind those two films, Brian Robbins, to make a film called A Thousand Words. The film is about a guy, played by Eddie Murphy, who discovers he only has 1,000 words left to speak before he dies. Reportedly savaged in test screenings (the film has a 3.6 IMDB rating based on 32 votes) the film has been bounced around on Paramount’s schedule for a couple years. Now it has been given a January 13, 2012 release date by Paramount. Will that stick?

For a movie that has been waiting to be released any date is probably good, but that particular date is tantamount to being buried under a dumpster in the alley behind a mob-front restaraunt.

It’s not just that the movie might suck, however. There’s a bit more to the story of the movie being shelved. Back in the period of September 2008 to February 2009, when DreamWorks and Paramount split in very public fashion, there were two completed DreamWorks films made during the company’s deal with Paramount that DreamWorks couldn’t afford to buy out: The Lovely Bones and A Thousand Words.

While The Lovely Bones had no shortage of problems, it was a splashy adaptation of a major novel by a major filmmaker, and Paramount put it into theaters in late 2009. A Thousand Words, on the other hand, was a problematic, reportedly unfunny comedy from the team that crashed and burned with Norbit and Meet Dave. So Paramount has been sitting on the film, reportedly reshooting part of it earlier this year. It had been scheduled for a January release this year, but that date came and went. We still haven’t seen any official marketing material — no trailer, no images — and probably won’t for some time.

So, if by some miracle a trailer is cut that makes the movie look funny, just keep the project’s complex backstory in mind, and consider that in this case the January release date is a clear indicator that you might want to be cautious with your theater-going dollars.

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