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Looking For Comedy in the Muslim World (2006), Albert Brooks, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, January 27th, 2006

I love Albert Brooks. Listening to him kvetch about the minutae of life is some of the funniest stuff you’ll ever see. This movie is small and stupid, but, man, did I laugh my ass off. Serious belly laughs. And the thing is — there’s hardly any jokes. It’s all situational, it’s all in Albert’s inflections, in his double takes, in his strange word choice. Not as good as his masterpiece “Modern Romance,” but a worthy addition to his canon. (And critics who say Albert pales next to Larry David is an idiot. Larry is angry, Albert is inconvenienced.)


  1. Hate to do it, but I have to part ways with the Hoffman on this one. I saw an early preview screening of this last fall and found myself with the same strained I’m-about-to-drop-a-deuce-at-any-moment Albert Brooks expression the whole time…and not because I was imitating him. Apart from the minor laughs in the initial “getting his assignment” boardroom scene, what is funny in this movie? Seemed like a total misfire at a topical though tepid target. Granted, I saw an early, probably longer than theatrical cut, but there was NOTHING there (including the lame outsourcing gag repeated ad finitum). And if Brooks’ grand joke is on the audience — hey, there is no comedy in the Muslim world — then I can get the same reaction turning on a boob tube sitcom any night of the week, ain’t much comedy there either. Don’t get me wrong, I love Brooks’ older stuff but after The Muse and this, I might need to bow out of future Brooks. The only people laughing when I saw it were blue-haired ladies 60 and over. And those laughs were probably out of relief. They didn’t have to Metamucil it up to drop a deuce that night…Brooks did it for them.

    Comment by — January 27, 2006 @ 1:48 am

  2. Excellent use of Metamucil in a blog response!

    Well — I dunno — I find myself greatly amused by Brooks’ obsession with the particulars of life, how he always gets hung up on the little things. Here he is, running around India with this great project, but all he can do is worry about padding his report to 500 pages. It’s not funny like a joke, but somehow it makes me laugh.

    Here’s something more coherent I wrote about Brooks a few years back:

    Comment by Jordan Hoffman — January 27, 2006 @ 11:17 am

  3. Good article. And I agree that Brooks was cutting edge in his approach…years ago. Maybe I was a little harsh above, but I think his “edge” has dulled quite a bit in the past decade. Your article has inspired me to put “Real Life” on my Netflix just to go back and revisit the good ol’ days.

    Comment by — January 27, 2006 @ 9:26 pm

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