OK. I am not paid to write movie reviews. A friend of mine is and I get to tag along sometimes to the screenings.
Bill Murray is a funny guy. My friend and I enjoyed watching him in Rock the Kashbah. We laughed. A lot. Many times we were the only ones laughing. That made me laugh all the more. I couldn’t figure out if we were the only ones who “got” the humor; or the only ones who thought it was humorous.
It wasn’t until the closing credits that I realized the story is loosely based on a true event. Click the link below.
Murray plays an on-his-last-leg talent manager. He and his secretary/client end up on a USO tour in Afghanistan. She freaks out; takes what little cash he has along with his passport and leaves with the help of a mercenary (Bruce Willis).
Richie Lanz (Murray) is desperate. No act. No money. No passport. He is befriended by a local, native cab driver who acts as his guide/interpreter throughout his tour.
Richie meets up with two shady American arms dealers who con him into making a well-paid delivery for them. He is invited to be a guest in the home of one of the villagers. During the early evening as he is taking in the vastness of the desert, he is lured into a cave by the sweet sound of a song.
Inside the cave, his hosts’ daughter has hooked up a television to a car battery. She watches the Kabul version of American Idol and longs to be a contestant. Her musical repertoire consists of Cat Stevens (who is Muslim by conversion) songs in English. The sound track is vintage ’60s and sublimely apropos.
Lanz operates under the assumption that his hand shake is as good as a contract. He makes a fair number of deals on many different levels.
It may not seem reasonable that humor erupts in war torn Kabul and surrounding desert cities but it does. If you get it.
The final score is “Peace Train” which is perfect for the story’s end.
Professional reviewers mostly didn’t like the film. I would watch it again because the laughs were great for those few of us that get it.
I give it **** (4 stars).