ROCK THE KASBAH – Rated R

rock-the-kasbah

Writer Mitch Glazer (SCROOGED, GREAT EXPECTIONS, THE RECRUIT) has joined forces with Director Barry Levinson (TOYS, WAG THE DOG, MAN OF THE YEAR) to bring to life the partially fictional/partially true story of Afghan singing sensation Setara Hussainzad ~ and her rise to fame on Afghan Star ~ as we get ready to ROCK THE KASBAH!!!!

Washed up with no where to go…L.A. Talent Manager Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) is in search of his NEXT BIG MONEY MAKER ~ but in the mean time ~ he will settle on taking his present bar singing talent Ronnie (Zoe Deschanel) to sing for the troops in Afghanistan.

Scared not only by the flight, but by the warlike surroundings she encounters once she arrives in “the dessert from hell”, Ronnie is trying anything she can to get out of this arrangement Lanz had gotten her into, and fast. When a local military man, Bombay Brian (Bruce Willis) takes a liking to her, it seems that a way of escaping this gig may be just around the corner…

Now, without his Star, or his passport or wallet, Richie finds himself in desperate need of some TLC, and lucky for him he wonders into the presence of Merci (Kate Hudson), who is about to show Richie the “the time of his life”…

Conned into transporting arms, Richie is taken a back by the beautiful tones he hears coming from the dessert. Since singing is like the “forbidden fruit” of biblical times in the afghan culture, the exquisitely beautiful and talented Salima (Leem Lubany) must hide her voice from the outside world, or at least she thought she had…until Lanz confronts her and convinces her to try out for the AMERICAN IDOL of Afghanistan – AFGHAN STAR ~ much to the dismay of her father, and her people

I give ROCK THE KASBAH a rating somewhere between: MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH IT ON DVD. Even though the premise of the film is plausible ~ manager taking talent to sing for the USO, only to find better talent already there…and seeing Murray again on screen sounded real good, as I usually love what he does, but, sadly, his role in this film doesn’t take us anywhere he hasn’t taken us before. Deschenal’s role this time around is so small, that she seems to be nothing more than a blip on the screen ~ I mean she doesn’t really get an opportunity to flex her acting muscles at all, which is sad too, as I really enjoy her work as well. Hudson’s role as the “temptress of the dessert” seems like a slightly ramped up retooling of her breakout role in ALMOST FAMOUS, so nothing new for us to experience there either. And lest we not forget to mention Willis’s role in this film as the mercenary, although, once again, he is playing his own very familiar role ~ you know, older dude sent in to kick some booty, I didn’t absolutely LOVE it, but I definitely didn’t dis-like it either, I just think there was so much more they could have done with not only the storylines, but the seasoned actors they had assembled too, when it was all said and done. In actuality, the most enjoyable part of this film for me, was it’s INCREDIBLE SOUNDTRACK ~ From the first frame to the last, ROCK THE KASBAH’s soundtrack is a MUST LISTEN TO for anyone who loves 70’s and 80’s classics ~ believe me, the soundtrack really is, hands down, the best part of this film…

Kathy Kaiser