Movie: Rock The Kasbah
Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)
Review: The career path of Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) has bottomed out. The music promoter and sometime agent is scraping along hustling fees out of wanna-be singers, promising them he can make them stars. Finally he gets a chance at a real gig, taking talented singer Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel) to Afghanistan as part of a USO tour to entertain the troops stationed in the Paktia Province. It turns out that Ronnie is not a good flier, and likes Afghanistan even less when she gets there. Suffice it to say that Richie Lanz has his hands full handling the talent for this tour.
Richie quickly makes the acquaintance of Bombay Brian (Bruce Willis), a contractor warrior who guards convoys in and around the city. He often works for a pair of happy-go-lucky arms merchants played by Scott Caan and Danny McBride. It is a crazy war, and these two knuckleheads hope it lasts forever, because they are making a fortune selling bullets and bombs. Another entrepreneur that Richie runs into is Ms. Merci (Kate Hudson), a former school teacher who is working her butt off selling…well, her butt. And various other body parts. Somehow Richie and Merci bond, don’t ask me how.
But the real story is that while Richie Lanz may be a hustler and devoid of most ethics and morals, he is at heart a talent scout. And in the most unlikely place and circumstances, he may have discovered a major musical talent in Salima (Leem Lubany). The question is, what can Richie do about it in a country like Afghanistan?
This film is worth seeing, if for no other reason than to see Bill Murray do his shtick. He does play the nutty but still likeable loser in this dark comedy that morphs into a surreal drama. Doesn’t always make a lot of sense, but just go with it. Bill Murray seldom plays the main lead in films anymore, so just enjoy this off the wall story.
Huh? What the….: Pretty sure that you can’t pick up TV reception inside a cave in the middle of a desert. Just sayin’….
For you aging SNL fans, in one scene Bill Murray channels the spirit of Nick, his lounge singer character.
Dialogue Nuggets: Richie – “Life is finding an open door and walking through. Obviously some asshole has changed the locks on me, but I’m still in the game.”
Richie’s Daughter to Dad – “They don’t have casbahs in Afghanistan.”
Ronnie – “This is a G–damned death trip!”
US Soldier to Ronnie and Richie – “Make sure you get a room in the back (of the hotel) away from the flying glass.”
Merci to Richie – “Sweets, I can do things to you that are illegal in every civilized country in the world.”
Merci to Richie (Part Deux) – “This is Ms. Merci’s 401K retirement tour. You do not want to miss it. Buckle up, cowboy!”
Richie – “I am not a loser. I am a quitter!”