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‘Rock The Kasbah’ Reviews: Is Bill Murray’s New Movie Fun Or Flat?

Fri, October 23, 2015 5:48pm EDT by Emily Longeretta 1 Comment

Bill Murray may be hysterical, but maybe as a washed-up manager visiting Afghanistan, he doesn’t really do it. That’s what the critics say about his newest movie, ‘Rock the Kasbah.’

Playing rocker Richie Lanz, Bill Murray gets dumped by his client just in time to find a new singer who wants to be on an American Idol-like show, Afghan Star. Naturally, he looks for help from Bruce WillisKate Hudson and many more A-listers in hopes that she’ll be discovered. However, according to critics, the film is little insensitive and although ti’s supposed to be funny, it seemed “overly idealistic.” Ouch!

Here are the reviews:

Rock the Kasbah, which is (very) loosely based on a true story, feels like it was designed specifically as a Billy Murray vehicle – and probably was, seeing as the film was scripted by Mitch Glazer: the writer of Scrooged and co-writer on the upcoming A Very Murray Christmas. However, as a result of this, Rock the Kasbah ends up falling short at being either an insightful political farce and/or a decent story about how great talent and creative expression can blossom anywhere. Instead, the movie unfolds as a string of scenes that form a half-baked narrative, which is meant to first and foremost provide an excuse for Murray to play yet another sardonic wiseacre who learns to be less self-concerned – a role he’s tackled many a time before, in much better comedy/dramas.

The air of mourning might have worked as a counterpoint to the silliness if Mitch Glazer’s script had smart gags, but as one-liner after one-liner misses its mark, you begin to feel sorry for Murray, who’s really too old to be playing a guy who has a little daughter (not granddaughter) and likes to get kinky with Kate Hudson as a raucous, Dolly Parton–style hooker-businesswoman.

The Hollywood Reporter
The idea of parachuting Bill Murray as a washed-up ’60s rock tour manager into the nightmare of contemporary Afghanistan no doubt seemed like too promising a fish-out-of-water story not to pursue. But so much of what goes down, particularly as concerns the modest but insistent hopefulness of the third act, feels like an overly idealistic wish-fulfillment fantasy and fails to unite the film’s assorted creative aspirations. This Open Road release doesn’t look to travel very far theatrically.

New York Times
Clichéd, enervating, insulting — it’s tough to settle on a single pejorative for “Rock the Kasbah,” though abysmal might do. Crammed with performers who apparently didn’t read the script before signing on, the movie offends your intelligence on every level, starting with its use of Afghanistan as a Western playground.

Mere weeks after the horrific bombing of an Afghan hospital and President Obama’s announcement of extended U.S. military presence in the region, this weekend might not prove to have been an ideal moment to release a film that treats the slow-motion tragedy of Afghanistan’s recent history as an exotic backdrop for broad fish-out-of-water comedy. Then again, there will probably never be a good time to release a project as fundamentally misjudged and disjointed as “Rock the Kasbah.”

Will you see it this weekend/ever?

— Emily Longeretta