This film was released in the UK almost five months after it was released in America, and it’s safe to say that it was not a success. Despite boasting an ensemble cast of household names, and being marketed as a comedy starring Bill Murray, it made about four dollars total, and left approximately zero cultural impact. This was no doubt partly down to the poor word of mouth, but also possibly the content. Still, I’m always hoping to be surprised, and with a number of elements that could work well, this film certainly had the potential to do just that.
Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) is a music manager who is well past his prime, and hasn’t managed a big artist for at least ten years. Whilst taking one of his acts on tour to Afghanistan to entertain the troops, he hears the kind of voice that just can’t be passed on. There’s only one problem – this voice belongs to a Muslim woman, who is forbidden to sing by her religion.
This film feels a lot like a missed opportunity. It’s revealed just before the end credits that this story is based on a true events, and it’s very clear which parts were added on. It’s so clear because these are all of the boring parts. There’s a fascinating story here, but it was unnecessarily buried beneath about an hour of added content, that only did the interesting parts of this story a disservice. Had this come out during awards season, with only the true parts of the story included, it could have been something very special.
So what was added? Boring sub-plots. A difficult to believe love story. Twenty minutes of set up that ended up going nowhere. A few characters that weren’t interesting or relevant, and worst of all an action sequence that seemed to only be there to give Bruce Willis something to do. It’s actually quite amazing that when this film was being made nobody pointed out the amount of random excess story elements that quite frankly pulled down what could have been a great film.
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