"Politically Correct and Surprisingly Boring"
What You Need To Know:
ROCK THE KASBAH has a promising start and then becomes something entirely different. Besides being an unfunny comedy, the overly wrought, sentimental script goes overboard on the politically correct statements regarding Islam and its culture and traditions. Bill Murray summons a few laughs, but even he can’t save this dismal, hopelessly unfunny movie from crashing and burning. The movie also has abundant foul language, lewd references and drug use, so media-wise moviegoers will want to avoid ROCK THE KASBAH.
(PaPa, FRFRFR, PCPC, APAP, B, LLL, VV, SS, N, AA, DD, M) Strong pagan worldview promoting the false religion of Islam as a somewhat honorable religion, while also showing the oppression women face under Islam, with strong politically correct Anti-American elements and some light moral elements about doing the right thing; more than 32 obscenities (including many “f” words) and 13 strong profanities (many GDs); implied war violence with explosions in the distance and burning cars, a man is shot in the shoulder; multiple lewd comments about sex and implied fornication with a prostitute, partially undressed, tied up in a bed, and; prostitute wears revealing outfits, silhouette of woman, woman in underwear; drinking and drunkenness; depicted drug use on multiple occasions; and, lying rock manager tries to con performers.
ROCK THE KASBAH is a boring, unfunny attempt at a comedy starring legendary actor Bill Murray.
Murray plays Richie Lanz, a washed-up rock manager who cons wannabe singers from a motel room. Richie’s trying to find a break. Claiming to have found Madonna as well as other singing sensations, Richie is all talk, but somehow, he gets a gig for one of his singers to perform for the troops in Afghanistan.
Flying to war-torn Afghanistan with his talent, it doesn’t take long for the drugged up singer to freak out regarding their bleak situation. So, while Richie is gone for a few hours, she steals all his money and passport and flees Afghanistan before her performance. Stuck with no money and no way to get home, Richie finds himself with two American arms dealers selling American weapons and ammunition to local villages. They promise to help him get home if he helps them close a deal with a local, very traditional (or more accurately radical), village. Richie agrees.
When Richie tries to close the deal at the Afghani village, they insist he spend the night. Late in the night, Richie hears singing coming from a cave in the wilderness and discovers one of the local Afghani girls playing guitar and singing classic America songs beautifully. Inspired by her talent, he tries to convince her to leave and shame her family by competing in the television show that’s essentially an Afghani “American Idol.” To do so, he’ll have to use his negotiating skills, protect his new talent from the hordes of Muslims that want her dead for singing on television and find some sort of moral lesson in it all.
ROCK THE KASBAH has a promising start and then becomes something entirely different. Besides being an unfunny comedy, the overly wrought and sentimental script goes overboard on the politically correct statements regarding Islam and its culture and traditions. The radical caricature villains aren’t too far from the bad guys in movies like THE THREE AMIGOS. The only difference is that the villains portrayed in ROCK THE KASBAH are a real life problem for oppressed women in Islamic cultures. It’s both politically correct toward Islam and offensively insincere to those who are dying every day in the Middle East. Somehow, even with its negative portrayal of their views on women, the movie still paints Islam as a positive religion through the young oppressed woman who wants to “praise Allah” through her singing of American cover songs (?????). It’s truly bizarre. Throw in some random characters, like an American prostitute (played by Kate Hudson), whose character serves no purpose in the story, two goofy war lords and a mercenary played by Bruce Willis, and it seems as if acclaimed director Barry Levinson just started inviting Hollywood friends to randomly show up in his movie.
There’s an attempt at a moral lesson, in that Richie must learn to keep his word, fight for his friends, risk his life for others, and, in the end, hopefully become a better dad, but none of these lessons end up being effective in the end. Bill Murray musters up a few laughs, but even he can’t save this dismal, hopelessly unfunny movie from crashing and burning. Add to the fact that the movie has an abundant amount of foul language, lewd references and drug abuse, and media-wise moviegoers will want to avoid ROCK THE KASBAH at all costs.