The American senate, in order to improve it's fast declining global image, asks comedian Albert Brooks to write a 500 page document about what makes Muslims laugh in India and Pakistan. Bidding adieu to his wife and young daughter,and accompanied by two government bureaucrats, Albert opens up an office in New Delhi, hires a pretty Secretary, Maya, and goes around asking people at random as to what makes them laugh. He finds that people generally look at him suspiciously and refuse to answer any questions. He then decides to go public and stage a comedy show, the suggested place for the publicity is old Delhi. Accordingly the four re-locate, book a school auditorium to seat about 400 people, go around the city distributing leaflets, inviting the general public to attend the show. They get a houseful response, however, Albert's comedy act fails to impress. He then decides to try his hand in Pakistan, only to be told that he cannot get a visa for another 14 days. He decides to enter ...Written by
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Albert Brooks' films are an acquired taste. That said, his new film, "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World", offers an unforgettable trip to some exotic locations in search of laughter, which is something Mr. Brooks does best. The point of his film seems to be that by laughing during difficult situations will unite people instead of separating them.
This is a film that has a lot of laughs in the way Albert Brooks throws his one liners and makes a satire of the idiocy of the assignment he has been given by those innovative guys in our government. Along the way, Mr. Brooks points out at how other cultures, India, in this case, has managed to become an integral part of ours in the way most American companies have outsourced jobs to that country. That becomes evident when we get to listen what is being said by the telephone people that work in the same building where they have found an office for the comedian. Even the White House phones seem to be answered by Indian operators!
This film is obviously not for everyone. Mr. Brooks' fans will have a field day watching this unassuming comic genius going through India and Pakistan in search of fun, but alas, what's funny for us it's not for other people. One of the funniest moments shows how a worried Brooks misses the magnificent Taj Mahal because he is too preoccupied with the job he has been given.
Of course, Albert Brooks is the best interpreter of himself. He has a style that is not obnoxious, or in your face. His presence in the film playing himself strikes the right note. Sheetal Sheth is a revelation as Maya, the eager Indian assistance who can't get Mr. Brooks' jokes however hard she tries. John Carroll Lynch and Jon Tunney are seen as Stewart and Mark, two men appointed to help Brooks perform his assignment. Penny Marshall appears at the beginning of the film as herself.
The film will reward the viewer going with an open mind to see the film because Albert Brooks is a funny man with the heart in the right place.
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