Rock the Kasbah (2015) - Rotten Tomatoes

Rock the Kasbah (2015)



Critic Consensus: The Shareef don't like Rock the Kasbah, and neither will viewers hoping for a film that manages to make effective use of Bill Murray's knack for playing lovably anarchic losers.

Movie Info

A has-been rock manager from Van Nuys, California stumbles upon a once-in-a-lifetime voice in a remote Afghan cave in Rock the Kasbah, a dramatic comedy inspired by stranger-than-fiction, real-life events and directed by Oscar winner Barry Levinson. Richie Lanz (Bill Murray), dumped and stranded in war-torn Kabul by his last remaining client (Zooey Deschanel), discovers Salima Khan (Leem Lubany), a Pashtun teenager with a beautiful voice and the courageous dream of becoming the first woman to compete on national television in Afghanistan's version of "American Idol." Richie partners with a savvy hooker (Kate Hudson), a pair of hard-partying war profiteers (Danny McBride and Scott Caan) and a hair-trigger mercenary (Bruce Willis) and, braving dangerous cultural prejudices, manages his new protégée into becoming the "Afghan Star."more
Rating: R (for language including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Mitch Glazer
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 2, 2016
Open Road Films - Official Site


Bill Murray
as Richie Lanz
Bruce Willis
as Bombay Brian
Beejan Land
as Daoud Sididi
Fahim Fazli
as Tariq Khan
Sarah Baker
as Maureen
Taylor Kinney
as Private Barnes
Megan Raich
as Brittany
Sameer Ali Khan
as Azam Ghol
Glenn Fleshler
as Army Warrant Officer
Jonas Khan
as Nizar Khan
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Rock the Kasbah

Critic Reviews for Rock the Kasbah

All Critics (109) | Top Critics (33)

Leaving aside the galloping misogyny, 'Rock the Kasbah' just isn't remotely funny or smart.

Full Review… | March 14, 2016
Time Out
Top Critic

Murray's performance really is one of very few saving graces in this truly underwhelming piece of cinema.

Full Review… | March 23, 2016

Murray is entertaining but the plot seems entirely arbitrary with characters such as Kate Hudson's happy hooker Merci popping up without much rhyme or reason. A real disappointment.

Full Review… | March 20, 2016
Daily Express (UK)

A dog's dinner of a movie which not even the usually reliable Bill Murray can raise above the level of confused, cliched claptrap.

Full Review… | March 20, 2016
Observer (UK)

Barry Levinson's film, loosely inspired by the true story of reality TV show Afghan Star, comes at its subject matter from entirely the wrong direction.

Full Review… | March 18, 2016
Independent (UK)

It's a strangely lacklustre film that's happy to plonk Murray in a vaguely interesting crisis situation -- in this case, war-torn Afghanistan -- and just hope for the best.

Full Review… | March 18, 2016
Times (UK)

Audience Reviews for Rock the Kasbah


Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, and Zooey Deschanel Rock the Kasbah in this quirky lighthearted comedy. The story follows a washed up talent manager who gets stranded in Afghanistan when his performer abandons the USO tour, but he soon sees an opportunity after learning about a singing competition called Afghan Star and discovers a singer that he thinks could go all the way. The performances are all really good, particularly Willis; who does an impressive job at delivering the dry, sardonic humor. And the soundtrack is especially well-done, doing an excellent job at setting the tone and bringing energy to the film. Tremendously entertaining, Rock the Kasbah is a lot of fun and has a positive message about the power of music.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer


Rock the Kasbah is a film that is neither here nor there. It is an odd case of feeling completely inconsequential while using relevant aspects of our current cultural climate to try and make a statement yet only proving itself irrelevant for it. It's a strange film-an experience that isn't exactly unpleasant while you're in the midst of it, but is ultimately more forgettable than anything I've seen at the movies in recent memory. It's is a shame, really, as the production has so much going for it and could have certainly been an interesting film were someone with any kind of motivation or vision in the director's chair. It's always fun to see Bill Murray's name above the title, leading a film and especially if that film is a broad comedy (something we don't get often anymore), but while Murray is seemingly giving this his all director Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Wag the Dog) looks to be on autopilot. This isn't necessarily unexpected as Levinson hasn't produced anything that's been universally loved or appreciated for some time, but to have frequent Murray collaborator Mitch Glazer (Scrooged, the upcoming A Very Murray Christmas) behind the screenplay and Murray front and center with an off the wall premise one would think there'd be more to this tale of a washed up music manager who ends up stranded in Afghanistan. Instead, Murray and a rather outstanding supporting cast that includes Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Scott Caan and Danny McBride are wasted in this meandering mess that only stays afloat for the pure intrigue of seeing where the movie might go. Turns out, Rock the Kasbah isn't worth paying much attention to even if every facet it offers up is one you would normally give enough credit to do as much. It's not horrible by any means, but it's easy to see the amount of untapped potential here that inevitably makes the final product all the more disappointing.

read the whole review at

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer


The story is all over the place and could have been a whole lot bette but it's still enjoyable to watch

Rock the Kasbah Quotes

Army Warrant Officer: Why are you here?
Kabul: To collect my check for this, why else?
– Submitted by Luis F (7 months ago)
Actor: I have spent my life searching for a voice.
– Submitted by rob g (7 months ago)
Actor: What the hell am I doing here?
– Submitted by rob g (7 months ago)
Actor: Rise and shine song bird.
– Submitted by rob g (7 months ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Rock the Kasbah on our Movie forum!