Rock the Kasbah

Rock the Kasbah ★½

Barry Levinson has really lost his touch.  He hasn’t made a good film in 20 years, and this half-burnt offering is no different.  To miss the mark with Bill Murray as your lead is extremely difficult.  The man is one of the most natural deliverer of lines ever, with what has seemed like an ability to turn almost any script into gold.  Well, maybe he was just really good at choosing scripts, in the past.  Can’t say the same for this. 
         With what comes across as an underdeveloped music agent version of Levinson’s own film, Jimmy Hollywood (a cult classic in its own right — I’ve probably seen it a hundred times, and both Pesci and Slater give incredible performances), Kasbah just doesn’t take the time necessary to get to know Murray’s character before he finds himself in Afghanistan, abandoned by his assistant/ struggling musician Zooey Deschanel (who’s only in the film for the first act).  The dialogue is filled with cliches, and each scene is unmemorable.  
         Even with Bruce Willis, Danny McBride, and Scott Caan playing what would be colorful characters in a better written film (like Get Shorty, for instance), the story never manages to crystallize into something worthy of our attention — which is unfortunate given the potential emotional impact of the subject matter (the true story of the first woman to sing on Afghanistan’s version of American Idol, thereby risking her life).  Even the Mexican stand-off scene in the third act fails to carry any real weight when you’re watching it. 
          Disappointing all around.

Devon liked these reviews