Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (2006)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Although the premise seems ripe for laughs, Albert Brooks isn't ruthless or clever enough to pull it off.

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Movie Info

Comic and filmmaker Albert Brooks serves his country while struggling to get some laughs in this offbeat satiric comedy. Brooks plays himself, a comedic filmmaker whose most recent success was providing the voice of a fish for an animated feature and who has just been passed by as director for a remake of Harvey. As Brooks wonders what's going to happen next with his career, his wife (Amy Ryan), and his daughter, he's approached by government representatives who want him for a special assignment. The State Department, eager to better understand the cultural gap between the United States and the Middle East, have been directed by the president to make a study of what makes Muslims laugh. Brooks is asked to fly to India and Pakistan and bring back a 500-page report on Muslim humor; told the Medal of Freedom may be his if he comes through, Brooks accepts. With a pair of State Department officials in tow, Stuart (John Carroll Lynch) and Mark (Jon Tenney), and some help from a local assistant, Maya (Sheetal Sheth), Brooks sets out to find the funny bone of India's and Pakistan's Muslim communities, though it doesn't take long to find out what they don't find funny -- his standup act. Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World was originally set for release in the United States by Sony Pictures Classics, but when they became nervous over the film's title, they dropped the project and it was picked up for distribution by Warner Independent Pictures.
Rating:
PG-13 (for drug content and brief strong language)
Genre:
Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Box Office:
$758,098.00
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

Penny Marshall
as Herself
Amy Ryan
as Emily Brooks
Albert Brooks
as Himself
Kavi Raz
as Translator
Marshall Manesh (II)
as Shaif Al-Rafi
Kevin Mukherji (II)
as Spotlight Man
Ahmed Ahmed
as Escort
Steve Kramer
as Sam Loman
Jon Tenney
as Mark Brody
B.J. Ward
as Barbara Nader
Reena Dutt
as Bar Patron
Yasmine Hannaney
as Receptionist
Mike Akrawi
as Pakistani Comedian
Ajay Mehta
as Indian Official
Conrad Bachmann
as Ben Wallerstein
Subash Kundanmal
as Pakistani Official
Paul Eric Jerome
as Studio Executive
Ben Anand
as Pakistani Official
Avinash Kaur
as Job Applicant
P.D. Mani
as Pakistani Comedian
Tony Montero
as Don Budge
Marco Kahn
as Pakistani Comedian
Victoria Burrows
as Casting Director
Lynda Berg
as Margaret Allenton
Vipin Kumar
as Customs Agent
Juliet Touzene
as Job Applicant
Sunny Raina
as Job Applicant
Rima Laham
as Job Applicant
Sanjeev Johrai
as Hotel Guest
Kavita Ashok
as Waitress
Sandhya Bhatia
as Street Interview
Mitlesh Prasad
as Street Interview
Manoj Buxi
as Street Interview
Surinder Arora
as Man in Temple
Gabbar Singh
as Guide at Mosque
Raul Laskarov
as Man in Bar
Duncan Bravo
as Stage Manager
Barbara Ali
as School Official
Sankalp Rastogi
as Audience Member
Dhiru Shah
as Indian Official
Radha Zaidi
as Indian Official
Anand Vadehra
as Pakistani Comedian
Lalit P. Jobanputra
as Pakistani Comedian
Gagan Deep Singh
as Pakistani Comedian
Raghu Bhagat
as Pakistani Official
Sameh Sheik
as Mukhtar Al-Mujib
Shaheen Sheik
as News Anchor
Linden Soles
as News Anchor
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News & Interviews for Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World

Critic Reviews for Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World

All Critics (109) | Top Critics (35)

Looking for Comedy succeeds smashingly both as a comedy and as a savvy deconstruction of comedy.

Full Review… | November 27, 2006
AV Club
Top Critic

The movie has a perversely unifying effect: Muslims, Christians and Jews may not be able to agree on exactly who the heck Jesus is, but they're fully capable of bonding in boredom.

Full Review… | October 6, 2006
Salon.com
Top Critic

I think this thing is just flat and dead.

February 10, 2006
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

I like all of Brooks's features, which are brilliantly conceptualized and deftly executed. This one's no exception, and some of the laughs are genuinely cathartic.

Full Review… | February 10, 2006
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A comedian should never attempt to be a diplomat.

Full Review… | February 10, 2006
Toronto Star
Top Critic

For all its silliness, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World is also a work of integrity.

Full Review… | January 20, 2006
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World

While I am a fan of Albert Brooks and he is clearly from the same school as Larry David, I believe Larry David could have done this concept better.

Jeffrey Newman
Jeffrey Newman
½

An interesting movie. Quite good.

Leo L
Leo L

Super Reviewer

Albert Brooks is one of those actor-writer-directors who definitely hits and misses. Like Lost in America, this movie is mostly a hit. I laughed very hard for periods of time in this pseudo-documentary about Brooks' US government sponsored search to determine, in a 500-page report : ), what constitutes "funny" in India and Pakistan. I loved sequences like the job interview and, especially, Brooks' stand-up performance in India where he redefines impromptu comedy -- and revives one of his very early real-life ventriloquist routines.

More than anything in this, I was overjoyed to discover the acting and comedic talents of American-born Sheetal Sheth. She is definitely worth the watch, even if you've been disappointed by some of Brooks' work in years gone by.

Lanning : )
Lanning : )

Super Reviewer

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