While visiting Kabul, Afghanistan, washed-up rock manager Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) gets dumped by his last client (Zooey Deschanel). His luck changes when he discovers Salima Khan, a Pashtun teenager with a beautiful voice who dreams of becoming the first female to compete on the television show "Afghan Star." With help from...more
While visiting Kabul, Afghanistan, washed-up rock manager Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) gets dumped by his last client (Zooey Deschanel). His luck changes when he discovers Salima Khan, a Pashtun teenager with a beautiful voice who dreams of becoming the first female to compete on the television show "Afghan Star." With help from a savvy hooker (Kate Hudson), two war profiteers and a trigger-happy mercenary (Bruce Willis), Richie embarks on a mission to make sure his new star gets discovered. less
“If the second half was as funny as the first, the Kasbah would have almost rocked.”
Bill Murray in a comedy centred around the music scene in Afghanistan? Sounds like a recipe for a good time and Rock the Kasbah holds true to this fact for at least half its length. Its hilarious, engaging and even believable, to an extent. All this changes in the second half, after the introduction of Leem Lubany (Salima), through no fault of her own. She delivers a great performance, but her addition to the story coincides with the removal of many of the funnier characters in the film.
Richie Lanz runs an artist management firm which isn't doing well at all. Working out of a motel, he has one worthwhile artist, Ronnie. Ronnie sticks with him because she feels her can help her further her career. Richie is approached by a promoter to get Ronnie to perform in Afghanistan. He agrees, but Ronnie chickens out in the last minute, leaving him without an act or a passport in a foreign nation. He wander around the landscape encountering weapons dealers, mercenaries and hookers along the way. Through a stroke of fortune he discovers Salima, a young girl with a prodigious talent in singing. He now attempts to get Salima to perform in Afghan Star, a local talent show, but is shocked to know that the country seems to have no inclination to give her space to perform. So now this slob must change his personality and get this young lady an audience worthy of her talents.
Rock the Kasbah starts out as a hilarious, light hearted flick and somewhere along the way loses all of what made it watchable. The turnaround in Murray's character was sudden and unfathomable. There are almost no standout moments from the point he discovers Salima and that is about half the movie. Unless you're a diehard Bill Murray fan, you're better off avoiding this one.