Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
The movie wants to be both glib and emotionally resonant, but it can't seem to figure out what the stakes are -- even as people are getting shot.
Its music-industry gags sit awkwardly next to war-zone jokes and cultural quips, landing all involved on a peace train to nowhere.
Bill Murray heads to Afghanistan in director Barry Levinson's dreadfully misguided farce.
A comedy that's openly afraid to seem too sincere or too mawkish, and doesn't fully commit either to its comedy or its uplift. Like Murray, it's wry and presented largely in air quotes, with an accompanying eye-roll.
There might be a decent movie in here somewhere, if the focus had been on the right character.
J. R. Jones,
This dismal comedy, scripted by Murray's old pal Mitch Glazer (Scrooged), evinces only enough interest in Afghanis to keep the story rolling.
A white-savior showbiz fable of a particularly dubious and retrograde variety.
Your enjoyment of all this will probably depend heavily on your willingness to let the words romp and Taliban coexist for approximately two hours.
Rock the Kasbah morphs into a pretty implausible feel-good movie that's nearly as maudlin as it is unconvincing.
Los Angeles Times:
An acclaimed film director, a legendary comic actor, lots of fun rock and pop songs, and a noble story at its core can't save "Rock the Kasbah" from being one hugely misguided dud.
An ongoing war is no setting for a musical comedy, especially one this glib and inane.
It needs a smarter script. It needs at least two or three perfectly engineered, joke-after-joke sequences. It needs a smart director - did you really do "Wag the Dog," Levinson? - whose idea of political satire goes beyond freshman-year sarcasm.
Rock the Kasbah's timing is so slack, and its screenplay so shapeless, that the movie doesn't even rise to the level of an Afghan-war Stripes. It's almost as laugh-free as the latest news from Kunduz.
New York Times:
Cliched, enervating, insulting - it's tough to settle on a single pejorative for "Rock the Kasbah," though abysmal might do.
Some projects are just too misguided for the star to mug and shrug his way out of. Consider Rock the Kasbah at the top, or the bottom, of that list.
Rock the Kasbah goes fierce to quietly touching and back to funny again.
Murray, idiosyncratic as always, dominates, but his performance can't save this misconceived mess.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Murray does his best to hold up the movie, but there's only so much he can do. Ultimately, his latest fish out of water never makes it back upstream.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
It fumbles a bit by prioritizing the goofy antics of its white cast over what turns out to be a smart depiction of non-Western life.
Bill Murray is Bill Murray is Bill Murray in a comedy that's little more than a schtick delivery system with some third-act personal growth thrown in for good measure.
It's a movie that's half-over before it tells us what it's really about.
A lot of the actor's usual mercurial charm isn't used to full effect and is actually tempered when it doesn't feel like it should be.
For every moment of desert beauty, or insight into the twilight economies that flourish in a war zone, there's a key scene that appears truncated or even missing.
New York Magazine/Vulture:
As one-liner after one-liner misses its mark, you begin to feel sorry for Murray, who's really too old to be playing a guy who has a little daughter ... and likes to get kinky with Kate Hudson as a raucous, Dolly Parton-style hooker-businesswoman.
Levinson never seems to know what to point his camera at, or when to cut, and Glazer never seems to know when to leave a joke alone and let the cast work.