Rock the Kasbah: Film Review – A Tiring Comedy

Verdict: Rock the Kasbah goes the clichéd way, but has its moments.

Rock the Kasbah begins in California, where a washed up rock band manager Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) doesn’t have clients and has a small apartment as a workplace. He conveniently lies to people about his shows with iconic music stars. He senses an opportunity when a drunk army officer tells him to tour Afghanistan as the money is abundant. Lanz then takes his only option Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel) for a tour but she runs away to Dubai with his money and passport.

He then meets Salima Khan (Leem Lubany),a girl with a gifted voice. The comedy, also stars Bruce Willis as a mentally unstable mercenary and comedian Danny McBride (in a cameo role as a salesman turned arms dealer). The first half is slow and predictable, and it’s not much later into the film that Salima is introduced. Deschanel barely impresses. 

The film offers many openings, but fails to close them down, with a weak screenplay. The second half, however gathers pace, with a quick narrative filling the openings. The camerawork is steady, but offers no creative shots, with mid-range shots being used excessively. Murray brings to the fore his trademark wit in a few scenes, with the dialogues bringing out a few laughs in the second half.

The rendition of Shakira’s Whenever Whenever is only one scene where famous pop idols are mentioned in the film, which is a major irritant in the film. Director Barry Levinson deals with a far different concept putting behind his Good Morning Vietnam and Rain Man days and opts for comedy through the war spyglass. 

Why You Should Watch This Movie:

Bill Murray never gets to fully use his trademark wit and uncanny dialogues, but is still enjoyable. Watch this film if you want to see a light-hearted comedy set in the heart of Afghanistan.


– By Shlomoh Samuel