Film Review by Andy Box
A down-on-his-luck music manager discovers a teenage girl with an extraordinary voice while on a music tour in Afghanistan and takes her to Kabul to compete on the popular television show, Afghan Star.
Murray’s X Factor tops the bill in Levinson’s musical desert storm.
Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Good Morning Vietnam and The Natural) has taken what we truly love about Bill Murray and let it loose in his latest movie offering. Murray is at his chaotic best in this comedy/musical/drama and his enigmatic presence and goofiness draws you into his life as a failing music manager who decides to take his one and only act to Afghanistan. Murray manages with the help of an excellent support cast to not only tell the enjoyable tale of musical discovery but also to explore and challenge themes such as gender, religion and everyday life in modern times Afghanistan.
Despite being a conman, a bad manager, a poor father and generally a douche you find engaging with his character in his last chance journey towards redemption. It is the watcher’s developing relationship with this theme of the movie that makes the film what it is. A lot of fun with some serious questions as undertones.
A lot of credit has to go to Mitch Glazer (previously wrote for Murray in Scrooged) who has penned a fast-paced and witty script that simply allows Murray to do his thing, and boy do we love it when he does his thing.
In addition to Glazer’s strong writing the movie is packed with powerful supporting roles. Willis is memorable as a crazy mercenary with a heart, Hudson adds Hollywood glamour as a hooker and wannabe business partner and Lubany Leem is raw and energetic as the shy but talented Salima.
There is the usual clichéd, Hollywood ending but do not let this detract from what is a piece of quality entertainment.
This movies ticks all the boxes for me in terms of how you should be entertained when venturing out to the cinema. It will not make it on to any Oscar nomination list in the near future but it will make you feel like you made the right choice on any particular night…
Releases: 29th October 2015
Rating: M – Contains Violence, offensive language, drug use & sexual references
Duration: 106 minutes
Starring: Bill Murray, Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson, Bruce Willis, Danny McBride, Scott Caan
Director: Barry Levinson (Man of The Year, Toys)
Second Movie with Bruce Willis & Bill Murray. They were both in Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Shia LaBeouf was originally cast, but ultimately backed out.
Was filmed in Morocco and Afghanistan.
Second movie starring Zooey Deschanel and Kate Hudson involving music, after Almost Famous (2000).