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.
Richie Lanz (Bill Murray), a has-been rock manager takes his last remaining client on a USO tour of Afghanistan. When Richie finds himself in Kabul, abandoned, penniless and without his U.S. passport, he discovers a young Afghan girl named Salima with an extraordinary voice and manages her through Afghanistan's version of American Idol..
The story is loosely based on Setara Hussainzada, the first woman to compete on Afghanistan's popular talent show Afghan Star (2009), a television show similar in concept to American Idol (2002). See more »
Private Barnes has a right shoulder sleeve insignia (combat patch) on his right shoulder, indicating that he has already completed a combat deployment. It is highly unlikely that he would still be a Private on his second deployment. Additionally, a Private would never be in charge of a security escort detail. See more »
[having just finished singing her audition]
Mr. Lanz? I'm done.
Forgive me. No. You're just beginning.
You liked it?
Liked it? You made me want to swallow poison. And forget pitch, rhythm and tone... and emotional attachment to the lyric or the melody.
I'm sorry. I don't think I...
A grain of sand slips into an oyster... and irritates the bivalve. What happens?
[...] See more »
Just after the closing credits begin, there is an inset scene running alongside. In it, Bill Murray haggles with a vendor who offers him colored string. The vendor speaks no English, while Murray carries on his side of the negotiation in English only. Murray rejects the string, saying "Do I look like a guy who uses string?", but he wants to buy a stuffed elephant with mirrors on it because early in the movie he promised to buy his daughter that exact item. In the end he also buys the colored string. See more »
Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) is a down-and-out music manager working out of a Van Nuys motel with his assistant Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel). He makes ends meet by conning money from gullible wannabes and booking bar mitzvah. They get recruited to an USO tour in Afganistan. The dangers freak out Ronnie and she runs away. Richie is befriended by irreverent amateur arms dealers Jake (Scott Caan) and Nick (Danny McBride). They take him to a club where he meets Miss Merci (Kate Hudson). Bombay Brian (Bruce Willis) arranged for Ronnie's departure and expects the other half of the money from Richie. Jake and Nick ropes Richie into a weapons run. With cab driver Riza as his translator, he finds his own Afghan Star.
The start is fine. Bill Murray is great as this kind of lovable loser and Deschanel is adorably scared. There are a couple of awkward chuckles. Then it's a surprising parade of Hollywood stars. The laughs quickly disappear as the movie struggles with the clashing tones of sincerity and surreal comedy. Murray's wise-cracking only grinds the humor to a halt. This is a terribly flawed movie.
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