With a $1.5 million opening weekend gross and a marketing campaign that basically boiled down to “…Hey, look, Bill Murray is in a thing!,” you’ve probably guessed by now that Rock the Kasbah is a steaming pile of shit.
If not: Rock the Kasbah is a steaming pile of shit.
Here’s the rundown: Murray plays Richie Lanz, a down-on-his-luck music manager whose only client is a dopeyquirky singer named Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel). They head to Afghanistan for a USO tour, only Ronnie books it with Richie’s passport and wallet. Stranded in a war-torn country, Richie eventually stumbles on Salima (Leem Lubany), the daughter of a local village elder. Though blessed with a golden set of pipes an all-consuming wish to appear on “American Idol” stand-in “Afghan Star,” Salima is nonetheless forbidden to compete by local traditions that prohibit women from singing in public. In grand ole cinematic curmudgeon tradition, Salima’s purity of voice and spirit breaks down some of Richie’s narcissistic, cynical barriers, and he becomes determined to help his new charge out.