Story by Adam Winn, Staff writer
“Rock the Kasbah” is a film that disguises itself as a comedy, only to later reveal that it’s not, fooling the viewer. This film has huge star power in it, but not even this quality could save the film from the failure it became.
The movie is about a washed-up, music talent agent named Richie Hanz (Bill Murray) who takes one of his clients (Zooey Deschanel) to Afghanistan to perform on a tour of USO concerts for the troops. Not long after arriving, she deserts him and steals his passport and money, leaving him stranded and alone in a dangerous part of the country.
After selling bullets to villagers so he can try to make money to get back home, he hears an Afghan girl (Leem Lubany) singing in a cave outside the village and decides to risk both his and her life to get her to a television singing competition named “Afghani Star,” even though it is illegal for women to sing on television in that country. Along the way he meets a hooker (Kate Hudson) and a mercenary (Bruce Willis) that ultimately end up aiding him in the process to do so.
Watching the film felt like watching a bad ping pong player: it’s all over the place and rarely hits the mark. It almost felt like the writers of the film were just making up the plot as they went along.
The film initially tries to play itself off as comedy with Murray’s character firing off dry, humorless jokes, but the central theme of the movie evolves into serious matters, such as women’s rights issues affecting developing countries and would have been more suitable had it just tried to remain a drama.
“Rock the Kasbah” also has an annoying habit of introducing a character that soon disappears with no explanation. For example, even though Zooey Deschanel has top billing in this film, her character is only in the movie for 15 minutes and then disappears and never comes back. The same thing happens to other characters as well, which leaves the viewer wondering why these characters are even there in the first place.
With huge star power, like Murray, Hudson, Deschanel and Willis, the audience would think that at least the acting would be decent, but unfortunately, it was the opposite. None of the actors or actresses seemed to portray the characters comfortably.
None of the characters were relatable, and the audience is going to have a hard time sympathizing with them. This could be partly because there was barely any character development, or maybe they were just doing it for the paycheck.
The most disappointing part of this movie was Bill Murray himself. He is an amazing actor and comedian, and some of his cameos have been the best part of a movie, such as in “Zombieland.”
His part in this film was too similar to his character in “Lost in Translation,” with both being about a washed-up, middle-aged man in the entertainment industry, alone in a foreign country, and it ends up back firing on him and this film as a whole. It’s a been-there-done-that move, and now it’s time to do something else, Bill.