Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World — Cute Idea, Lousy Movie

My friend Partho and I last night went to see the new movie starring Albert Brooks called Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World. (Here is the Warner Bros. web site for the film.) I’d heard Mr. Brooks interviewed a couple of times on the radio recently and it sounded quite hilarious. The premise is that the United States government, in an attempt to win the hearts of the Muslim world, commissions a comedian named Albert Brooks, to go to India and Pakistan for a month and find out what makes the people there laugh. He was then to come back and write a report about his findings.

The concept of what constitutes humor in another culture is intriguing and presents many possibilities; however, the movie turned out to be a one-joke film and never lived up to its potential. What we had instead was a series of encounters between Albert Brooks (the character) and Indian people staring back blankly at his stupid jokes. The sequence in which he completely misses seeing the Taj Mahal because he is so wrapped up in a discussion of the essence of comedy is just silly. The other characters are the conscientious young Indian woman he hires to be his assistant and a couple of U.S. State Department goons who are his minders.

It was Monday night and so we only paid $5.00 for the ticket, which was perhaps only $4.00 too much. Borrow it from the library on DVD, or watch it on TV when it arrives there.

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