Thursday, September 29, 2005


There’s a new Albert Brooks comedy on its way, and a major Hollywood studio—Sony Pictures-- decided to get skittish and refused to release it unless Brooks changed the title. Brooks refused, Sony passed, and Warner Independent Pictures scooped it up for release early next year. The title? Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, about a stand-up comic (Brooks, playing, as he did in Real Life, Albert Brooks) who heads to the Middle East on a quest to discover just what it is that Muslims find funny. Personally, I think anything by Albert Brooks is automatically worth a look, although I admit I still haven’t seen his indifferently reviewed 1999 release The Muse. But Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times has seen the new movie and is perplexed, as is Brooks, by Sony’s sheepishness and the inevitable perception of the movie being a 90-minute knock on an ethnic/religious culture already routinely lampooned and misrepresented in worldwide pop culture. Goldstein chronicles the filmmaker’s attempts to get his movie released and understood during this particularly churned-up moment in history in his Tuesday “Big Picture” column entitled ”Funny Choices.”

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