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Rock The Kasbah review; “Bill Murray, not so funny”

Rock The Kasbah review: This sluggish comedy/ drama falls way short of the mark of what we’d expect from the likes of Bill Murray.

Rock The Kasbah review

Rock The Kasbah review

Rock The Kasbah review by Paul Heath. Dumped in the release schedules in the U.K. post-Oscars and pre-blockbusters is Rock The Kasbah, a film that was received very poorly in the U.S. late last year.

Bill Murray plays the role of a down on his luck, faded music manager Richie Lanz, a Los Angeles resident who is not only on the lookout for the next big thing, but also the next big small thing that he can quickly extract some cash from to pay his bills, something that is clearly demonstrated in the film’s opening scenes. A string of rushed events see Lanz head to Afghanistan with his best act, a lounge singer played by the brilliant Zooey Deschanel. Once there, he meets a string of interesting characters, including the beautiful working girl Merci (Kate Hudson), and the hardened bad-ass Bombay Brian, played by a pretty decent Bruce Willis. Lanz eventually stumbles across the very talented young female singer Salima (Leem Lubany), and decides to take her to Kabul to compete on the popular television show, Afghan Star.

Rock The Kasbah review

Rock The Kasbah review

There are many things wrong with Rock The Kasbah, the main one being that while it tells a pretty decent, and indeed true story, the film overall is well below average. The story drags throughout, the film overall very baggy. Most of the jokes fall flat and even Bill Murray’s usual dry wit and charm fail to ignite anything in this lackluster effort from the usually pretty solid Barry Levinson, a director who is usually at home with this kind of film (see Wag The Dog). It’s extremely disjointed, very uneven, and miles away from anything that Murray has delivered in the last twenty plus years or so, which is extremely disappointing to fans, of which I am usually one.

Zooey Deschanel and Bruce Willis in their very fleeting roles actually bring something more positive to the film, but their lack of screen time fails to give the film any more levity, especially when you have cliched characters like Hudson’s hooker-with-a-heart present. Additional, though again, very small appearances from usually solid performers in Danny McBride and Scott Caan, can’t save this thudding yawn-fest that is best well avoided.

Rock The Kasbah review by Paul Heath, March 2016.

Rock The Kasbah is released in U.K. cinemas on 18th March, 2016.

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