“Rock the Kasbah” a movie that struggles to find its identity

One of the greatest comics of the last half century is without a doubt Bill Murray. His work on “Saturday Night Live” set the show up for the incredible run it has had. He also starred in classics like “Ghostbusters,” “Caddyshack” and “Groundhog Day.” Everybody knows who he is and has some level of love or respect for him.

When Murray is attached to a film, people tend to take notice. Even when he isn’t in a starring role, he can still define a film. This is especially true for a film like “Zombieland.” If you were to ask anybody who has seen the film, almost everybody would point to his cameo as one of the most memorable scenes from “Zombieland.” However, Murray’s newest film is neither noteworthy nor memorable.

“Rock the Kasbah” follows the story of underachieving record executive Richie Lansz (Murray). While watching his secretary Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel) sing in a club, he makes an agreement to bring her to Afghanistan for a USO tour. Once they arrive in Afghanistan, Ronnie runs off, along with all of Lansz’s money and belongings, leaving him to fend for himself.

As he seeks for some way to get home, Lansz runs across a woman named Merci (Kate Hudson), who is stuck living in a trailer, and an arms dealer, played by Bruce Willis, who rope Lansz into a regional conflict.

“Rock the Kasbah” feels like a number of different story ideas grafted together in an incredibly ineffective way. While the story moves forward, it is disjointed and slow. Another issue is that for a comedy, the film is not very funny. While Murray is a fantastic actor, some of the films he has chosen to act in recently have not been spectacular. This is especially true over the last few years with projects that have not involved Wes Anderson.

One of the most disappointing things about the film is its conflicted view of women. In the second half of the film, Murray’s Lansz discovers an Afghan girl with an incredible voice. This girl is an empowering figure, providing a great example to others. Yet at the same time, Kate Hudson is tacked on as a “love interest” for Lansz, although to use the phrase “love interest” is an overstatement. Hudson’s character is a prostitute who is simply along for the ride. Her place in the story makes very little sense and is incredibly contradictory.

On the whole, “Rock the Kasbah” is one of the lesser films to come out in 2015. With a subpar story and shallow, underdeveloped characters, the film is forgettable and not recommended.