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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.95%
Worth A Look44.19%
Average: 20.93%
Pretty Bad: 20.93%
Total Crap: 0%

6 reviews, 7 user ratings

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Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World
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by William Goss

"Looking For Humor In 'Comedy'"
2 stars

Albert Brooks writes, directs, and stars in 'Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World,' portraying – you guessed it – Albert Brooks. For a good while, as Brooks is commissioned by the U.S. government to discover what makes the Muslim community laugh, such circumstances fail to interfere with a generally amusing premise and execution. Then, with a single scene, Brooks manages to make his movie about, well, him, and 'Comedy' loses its sense of humor as a result.

After being briefed by the government, Brooks arrives in New Delhi, tasked with completing a mandatory 500-page report with research concerning what gets laughs, chuckles, and/or giggles from the Indian people in exchange for an illustrious Medal of Freedom. When on-the-street interviews fail to do the trick, Brooks decides to put on a comedy concert to conduct mass research in a short amount of time. Though he employs a broad variety of techniques in an effort to get a response, each and every joke falls flat.

Before that point, Brooks gets a pretty decent amount of laughs, with a fair mixture of jabs at our administration, Muslim culture, and even his own career (his role as a certain talking fish is referenced relentlessly). The concert scene itself is reasonably amusing for its first stretch, mainly due to the reaction or lack thereof from the audience.

But then the concert keeps going.

And going.

And going.

That single scene goes on for twice as long as it need to, and by the end, the viewer is just as unimpressed as the audience. After that moment, the film never fully recovers. With two-thirds left, Brooks struggles to regain his footing fails, leaving the remainder of the humor as selfish and strained as one initially feared.

Despite India having a predominantly Hindu population, he remains there, save for a brief excursion into Pakistan. In fact, the characters he meets there turn out to be the only people who dig his act. Then again, said group has also been hitting the hookah, so maybe that’s the one thing the rest of us forgot to do. Occasionally, the film detours to include an insipid espionage subplot, which results in an all-too-abrupt ending. It feels as if Brooks included the scenario as a way to end his film whenever he ran out of steam.

At one point, a Muslim television network offers Brooks his own sitcom, the title of which translates to “That Darn Jew!” Perhaps that title would have been a more accurate – and concise – alternative to 'Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World,' because as it seems that he is only looking for comedy in his own career. I’ve appreciated the work of Mr. Brooks in the past (yes, even 'The In-Laws'), but in this case, he fails to bridge that crucial sar-chasm that transcends any language barrier.

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originally posted: 02/10/06 09:36:14
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User Comments

5/03/07 David Pollastrini Boooooring! 2 stars
9/09/06 Phil M. Aficionado It just plain doesn't do anything except have an intriguing title; flat, shallow, boring 2 stars
3/28/06 Joe Schiappa okay 3 stars
3/28/06 Danny Johanson Good, but it can get really boring really fast 3 stars
1/25/06 Styopa Tendentious, predictable, patronizing (of the audience). Really straining to be amusing. 2 stars
1/24/06 Ole Man Bourbon A total failure, but a fun one. I guess quality talent goes a long way. AB fans only. 3 stars
1/21/06 Jim The Movie Freak Brooks can do no wrong although there is a slow patch here and there 4 stars
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  20-Jan-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 29-Aug-2006



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