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Rock the Kasbah


Stars: Bill Murray, Arian Moayed, Kate Hudson, Leem Lubany, Bruce Willis, Scott Caan, Danny McBride, Zooey Deschanel, Fahim Fazil

Director: Barry Levinson

There are some films that (unintentionally) review themselves.

Two lines of dialogue from this witless waste of film stock fit the bill to perfection. After some time a woman snaps “get me the hell out of here!”
a sentiment that impeccably summed up the entire sad experience while it didn’t take me long to agree with the feelings of boredom that motivated Bill Murray’s early line “You make me want to swallow poison”.

Mitch Glazer’s undernourished screenplay has washed-up rock music manager Murray taking his new ‘discovery’ - actually his secretary Zooey Deschanel on a USO tour in Afghanistan.

You have to admire the sheer lunacy of setting a comedy in war-torn Afghanistan and managing to persuade Murray, Bruce Willis and Kate Hudson, among others who should have known better, to attempt to wring laughs out of the situation.

Once they are in Kabul. Deschanel swipes Murray’s money and passport, after which he has various close encounters of the largely unfunny kind with scary mercenary Willis, soldiers-of-fortune Scott Caan and Danny McBride, and assorted Afghans, before discovering Pashtun teenager Leem Lubany and fixing it for her to appear on television in Kabul in Afghanistan’s version of ‘The Voice’…

The only memorable performance is that of Morocco which, moodily photographed by the cinematographer, plays Afghanistan and is possibly the movie’s sole credible element.

Director Barry Levinson, who was Oscar-nominated five times and won for Rain Man never really manages to infuse the corpse with anything approaching genuine comic life.

Murray, who appears much of the time to be even less interested in what was going on than I was, gets to sing which was a mistake.

Much like ‘Rock the Kasbah’ itself.

Alan Frank

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Sony. Colour.
106 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 18 Mar 2016