Two terrible lounge singers get booked to play a gig in a Moroccan hotel but somehow become pawns in an international power play between the CIA, the Emir of Ishtar, and the rebels trying to overthrow his regime.
Two terrible lounge singers get booked to play a gig in a Moroccan hotel but somehow become pawns in an international power play between the CIA, the Emir of Ishtar, and the rebels trying to overthrow his regime.Written by
Paul Sylbert scouted dunes in the United States and Morocco but none seemed to fit Elaine May's vision. After one unsuccessful search for dunes, Sylbert says, May suddenly announced she wanted a flat landscape instead. It took ten days to level an area of a square mile (2.6 km²). This decision cost $75,000. See more »
AS the helicopter lowers to give the CIA agent a level shot at the duo, his wood stock, single shot, bolt action rifle turns into a black automatic weapon with a banana clip. See more »
You mean you bought a camel?
No, I didn't really buy it. They SOLD it to me!
Oh no. I think that something went wrong and now I own a blind camel. A blind camel!
See more »
This is actually a brilliant comedy that utilizes the subtle jab to the funny bone rather than the thundering blow. Unfortunately, this type of humor died out sometime in the middle of the television show NEWHART's run. Why? Read The Wasteland! I don't know! Ishtar works in the same vein as Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges. No, the jokes do not come out and slap you in the face... You have to look for them to find them. Needless to say, do not rent this if you want a cathartic, mindless jolt. However, do not slam this movie just because it isn't slaptick or screwball. (Which are the only kind of comedies made anymore!) Elaine May comes from the comedy team of Nichols and May (Yes, Mike Nichols! [In fact one could argue that the comedy in The Graduate is bad for the same reasons as the comedy in Ishtar is supposedly bad.]). This duo practically perfected the witty, acerbic brand of humor which is now completely missed and misunderstood but was used masterfully in this film. In the age of Saturday Night Live and Ace Ventura, a comedy of this sort most assuredly would bomb and continue bombing. Nevertheless, if you are sick and tired of being force-fed ridiculously bad, hackneyed comedy then I suggest renting Ishtar (then buying some Nichols and May albums and watching the Bob Newhart reruns on Nick at Nite). Oh... Carter was President when I was born by the way... This is not nostalgia!
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