Starring: Bill Murray, Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson
Director: Barry Levinson
Running Time: 106 mins
Rock The Kasbah is an American film about an ageing music manager who travels with his last remaining client on a tour of US military bases in Afghanistan. While there, he encounters a young woman with a beautiful voice, and seeks to bring her stardom.
An infamous box office bomb on its release, it’s not hard to see why many weren’t rushing to see Rock The Kasbah on the big screen. Despite a wealth of on-screen talent, this is a really dull comedy, with a meandering screenplay and a premise that never really convinces, despite very loosely being based on a true story.
The bewildering thing about Rock The Kasbah is how it manages to squander its amazing cast. Bill Murray, Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson and even Bruce Willis star in this movie, yet all of them – along with their co-stars – fail to shine at any moment.
That’s inevitably a symptom of a really poor screenplay, which lacks either the wit or depth to make interesting characters out of any of them, and really struggles to convince you why the main character, played by Bill Murray, is so driven by this newfound talent in Afghanistan.
Murray is fine as a lovable kind of loser, but you don’t really root for him in the same way that you do many of his more famous characters from other films. He certainly doesn’t have much of an edge in this movie, with little dark wit beyond his occasionally surly speech after a drink, and so he’s not a particularly interesting person to spend much time with.
Deschanel, Hudson and Willis, meanwhile, seem to drop in and out of the movie at random, and offer almost nothing to the story as a whole. That leaves Murray out on his own effectively carrying the entire film, but even he can’t quite make up for what is a really tedious screenplay.
As the story unfolds and we begin to focus on the rise of the young Afghan talent, the movie takes a painfully predictable route to the finish, with all the same comments on war-torn Afghan society that we’ve seen time and time again – lacking any particularly enthralling insight.
And in the end, Rock The Kasbah just isn’t funny enough either to prove an entertaining, sit back-and-relax kind of movie. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 5.7 overall.