Looking For Comedy In the Muslim World
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -2

Cast: Albert Brooks. W&D-Albert Brooks.

Comedy ensues when the U.S. Government sends comedian Albert Brooks (Mother, Defending Your Life) to India and Pakistan to find out what makes the over 300 million Muslims in the region laugh. Brooks, accompanied by two state department handlers and his trusted assistant, goes on a journey that takes him from a concert stage in New Delhi, to the Taj Mahal (a great sight gag deep in thought, he walks past the magnificent edifice, missing it completely), to a secret location in the mountains of Pakistan. The film looks at issues we are dealing with in a post-9/11 world, both amusingly and insightfully.

No one in Hollywood makes me laugh more than Albert Brooks. Mother, with Debbie Reynolds, who should have received an Oscar for her performance, is hysterical. But Brooks isnt for everybody. Hes the L.A. version of Woody Allen. An angst-ridden comedian complete with a cerebral look at life, Brooks relies more on a dry, often sarcastic wit than obvious slapstick humor to make people laugh. He brings all his anxiety and acerbic drollery to his latest film. It starts out hysterical with a business meeting with Penny Marshall, whos remaking Harvey and looking for someone to play the Jimmy Stewart role. When that doesnt work out, the cranky comic is lured by the government to head to India on a fact-finding mission, promised to receive the Medal of Freedom (in lieu of payment). There are many funny lines and observations, as well as terrific sight gags. The midsection slows down almost to a standstill, but it livens up again as our hero meets Pakistani comic wannabes and is later offered a sitcom by Al Jazeera.

Mostly a clean film, Brooks doesnt rely on crudity to get laughs, with only a couple of obscenities to punctuate his mood. Alas, he misuses Jesus name on one occasion and a joke about smoking drugs may be luring to some younger viewers. PG-13 (one profanity, three obscenities and a couple of minor expletives; a couple of jokes border on crudity, but generally the script and actors avoid coarse humor).

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Warner Independent Pictures

Crude Language: a couple of jokes border on crudity, but generally the script and actors avoid coarse humor
Obscene Language: three, including one use of the f-word
Profanity: one misuse of Jesus name
Violence: Physical Fights: none Guns, explosives, other weapons: we see guns but none are fired Blood: none
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: one brief instance
Drug Abuse: the lead smokes hash with Pakistani rebels. It is played for laughs, but it may be alluring to teens.
Other: Learning the ways of others
Running Time: 105 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and Adults

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