If you have a comedy-drama about a rock manager at the last stages of a dismal career — he says he discovered Madonna (he didn’t) and books his last client (a game Zooey Deschanel) on a USO tour of Afghanistan — you need to find exactly the right actor to play him. Director Barry Levinson and screenwriter Mitch Glazer lucked out getting Bill Murray to play Richie Lanz, a loser who makes losing hilarious. Murray just kills it.
Rock the Kasbah goes fierce to quietly touching and back to funny again. Bruce Willis shows up as a gun-toting mercenary. And there’s Kate Hudson as a hooker working the Kabul circuit. And how about Leem Lubany as a Pashtun teen girl tied to strict Muslim rules of conduct. When Richie books her on Afghan Star, a version of American Idol, there are death threats. Some of this really happened. But don’t get bogged down in details. Just roll with Murray, an actor so damn good you’ll follow him anywhere.