Brittany Murphy is one of my favorite actresses. She’s awesome in comedic roles, cool and pretty fucking cute too. I’m glad she got to be one of the main characters in a pretty big movie and I hope she got at least a couple of million for doing it. But Don’t Say a Word is wigidy wigidy wigidy whack.
I was moderately surprised to find out that this film was based on a novel because it’s so generic, I’m sure they could have called it by another title and no one would have noticed. How would you identify this film as being based on a particular story in another medium?
“Hey, I know this story. It’s about the trendy, wealthy professional who has a ridiculously placid family life. He’s supposed to be an expert in his field, and they say words like ‘pathology’ a lot to make the audience feel smart. Then something goes awry and he has to become a hero. He has this cute, precocious kid who is kind of naively out going. She talks to her kidnappers like they were ice cream men.”
“Right, and he starts out as being kind of idealistic and soft, but not when it comes to protecting his kid. The whole process kind of brings out the caveman in him, and then the bad guy taunts him for being soft, then he fucks said bad guy up to prove that when push comes to shove, he’s a real man.”
“And then the wife is able to outfight and kill a professional criminal by being clever and using some prop that’s lying around, like a pair of scissors or a hatpin or something.”
“Yeah, that’s the one. And the protagonist has this friend who kind of provides the comic relief, but then the bad guy does something terrible to the friend, which makes you feel sad because the friend is so cute and lovable and you get extra angry at the bad guy, who is a very calm sociopath.”
They should have just made Brittany autistic and saved some money. Wait, didn’t they do that already in an Alec Baldwin movie? It hardly matters. Don’t Say a Word is sausage that comes from the same factory as Ransom, The Firm and about half a dozen films starring Morgan Freeman and/or Ashley Judd. It’s better than some, not as not-so-bad as others.
Of course, that’s just what it’s supposed to be. This movie was made to be something for people who decide to go see a movie on a particular night and feel like a thriller. “Ohhh, we like Michael Douglas. They don’t seem to have any of those nursery rhyme movies, so let’s see this one.” All concerned do an adequate job of making a movie to entertain such an audience. The film is skillfully put together in that, even though I didn’t particularly like what I was seeing, the time went by pretty fast. It’s what they call economical.
This isn’t Brittany’s best performance in my book. She came up with that stupid singsong “I’ll never te-ell” that was in all the trailers. It was good as far as coming up with a trailer line, but it just annoyed me, maybe because of the trailers, although I can’t say for sure. Michael Douglas does his thing, the actors playing his wife and daughter manage to blend in with every other wife/husband and kid in these kinds of films, which is what they were being paid to do, I’m sure.
This is one of those movies that you can see, then see the box at the video store like nine months later and not remember if you saw. You might even rent it again and get all the way to the “I’ll never te-ell” part before you remember it. Why bother?
The extras include scene specific commentaries by some of the actors and a feature length commentary by the director. None of them were particularly interesting because they kept talking about Don’t Say a Word. Actually, one part was sort of funny, when the director says that the I’ll never tell line has become a part of pop culture like “I see Dead People.” In his fucking dreams.
- Film, Overall – 3.5
- DVD Extras – 5
- Story – 2
- Acting – 5
- Direction – 5
- Rewatchability – Infinity.