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Film Review: Bill Murray Rolls Downhill in ‘Rock the Kasbah’

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CHICAGO – What’s up with this movie? Everything in it is so wrong headed, despite movie star casting and a attempt toward “current events.” Setting itself in a modern and complex country – Afghanistan – but creating a perspective on that country that is straight ugly American, “Rock the Kasbah” is a total downer.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

The problem is the screenplay – credited to Mitch Glazer – that perpetuates nothing but stereotypes about the mystery of Afghanistan, and is a typical and negligent outsider’s view of another country. The privileged white expatriates are above it all, and the natives are either murderous swine or capitulators who aid the white saviors. It seemed like a studio era (1930s-50s) movie view of exotic lands, where the citizens of those lands waited for outsiders to “civilize” them. That view is tiresome in our globally connected times, and placed within the context of a Bill Murray “comedy,” is especially senseless.

Murray is a low level rock music promoter named Richie Lanz. He works out of a sleazy motel (natch) and for is trying to get the career of Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel) off the ground. During one of her appearances at a club, Richie finds out that the USO is looking for performers to entertain the troops in Afghanistan, so he and Ronnie fly to that country. They are greeted in the conflict zone by the military, and a mercenary named Bombay Brian (Bruce Willis).

They also encounter a colorful cast of n’er do wells and natives. Jake (Scott Caan) and NIck (Danny McBride) are American weapon runners, and they ask Richie to deliver artillery to a remote village. There he discovers a new singer named Salima (Leem Lubany) – so Richie’s new obsession is to get his discovery on local TV’s “Afghan Idol.” It’s just too bad local customs forbids a woman to appear on the show, and her angry father also strictly forbids it. How will Richie solve this dilemma?

”Rock the Kasbah” opened everywhere on October 23rd. Featuring Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Danny McBride, Scott Caan and Leem Lubany. Screenplay by Mitch Glazer. Directed by Barry Levinson. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Rock the Kasbah”

Bill Murray
The Poster Rendering of Bill Murray in ‘Rock the Kasbah’
Photo credit: Open Road Films (II)

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Rock the Kasbah”

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