Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a look at Albert Brooks' newest, LOOKING FOR COMEDY IN THE MUSLIM WORLD. Now, when Brooks' comedies work they work so well... when they don't, they feel so empty. It looks like we're in for a good time come next January when we lowly mortals get exposed to this flick. It sounds fuckin' great from the below. Hopefully it'll be the first Albert Brooks directed flick I truly love since DEFENDING YOUR LIFE! Enjoy the review!
Hey Harry – here’s:
My two cents (i.e. a brilliant review. Seriously, you’re going to want to hire me. Do you pay?)
Okay, so I went to a screening in Pasadena of the new Albert Brooks film. I love this guy’s movies, but I wasn’t crazy about The Muse (I’m with Moriarty on that one). However here’s the truly excellent news: The Albert Brooks I know and love is in fact back!
The title is indeed: Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World and the premise is essentially the title. Albert Brooks, playing himself again – brilliant! (For any of you who haven’t seen Real Life, first, you’re lame. Second, run, don’t walk). So he gets called up by the powers that be, i.e. real life ex-Senator, and current day Law & Order cast member, Fred Dalton Thompson – who too is playing himself, to go to India and Pakistan and find out what makes the Muslims laugh. This is a late in the game attempt by the government to try something other than the “usual methods of spying and fighting” to figure out what the hell is going on on that side of the world.
Mr. Brooks appears somewhat incredulous. He even stops the meeting to point out that India is largely Hindu, not Muslim. To which the one of the suits responds that there are 150 million Muslims in India, and Fred Thomson says, “Is that enough for ya?” Hilarious.
DANGER DANGER SPOILER AHEAD!!!
So much happens once he’s in India, but so much doesn’t too, I mean this is really the brilliance of the movie, but let me save that for a minute. Albert spends the whole movie asking people what they think is funny and never gets any real answers. It turns out that Muslims (and Hindus) are pretty much like Americans; their sense of humor is completely idiosyncratic and doesn’t tell you jack shit about what the country as a whole might consider funny. But this doesn’t stop Mr. Brooks from trying. In a moment of sheer audacity the Albert Brooks character decides to go back to his standup roots and put on a concert as a way of finding out what people think is funny. He is so cock sure that people will think he’s hysterical that it’s more of an intellectual exercise just to see what exactly people will find funniest about his material. Turns out that it’s nothing. He bombs. Totally and utterly. (Which is an important set up for the end of the movie). He has the balls to put himself back up on stage and then to not get one goddamned laugh. It’s awesome!
Meanwhile, his presence in India, and his sneaking over the border illegally into Pakistan (the Pakistani campfire scene is so fucking funny) get the interest of both governments going. Pretty soon they are watching him, then each other, sure that there is something afoot. Albert ramps up the tension between these two already on edge countries and when he is eventually made to leave the country and goes back to the US – America the Beautiful playing away as his plane lands - he receives a celebratory party from his wife and is totally unaware that he has started a war. It is essentially an allegory for the way certain governments (i.e. oh, ours) go blithely into situations that we have no fucking grasp of, completely screw it up then walk away patting ourselves on the back with a feeling of a job well done, leaving the rest of the world to clean up our mess. It works on about 100 different levels but really the movie’s best comedy is subtle with a sting in its tail. You have to think about this one a little bit folks (as you do with all Albert Brooks movies) and thank god for that.
Faithfully yours, Margaret “dirty pillows” White.