Utah Muslims Miss the Punch Line in Albert Brooks’ New Movie

January 27, 2006

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune


On January 27, 2006 The Salt Lake Tribune reported, "Albert Brooks' film ['Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World'] fails to impress a group of Utah Muslims, who feel it falls back on easy stereotypes and misses an opportunity to convey an important message. They walked into the theater with high hopes -- hankering for laughs and, even more, for a film that would promote Muslim understanding. What they found left them disappointed, slightly offended and full of questions... All of them applauded the film's premise -- a story about Brooks' travels to India and Pakistan on the U.S. government's dime, to find out what makes Muslims laugh. International diplomacy through smiles -- what could be better? The final product, however, got 'thumbs down' all around... The consensus was that more than being short on comedy, the film was a lost opportunity. At a time when so many images of Muslims are negative ones, this could have humanized people who often feel misunderstood. Instead, viewers said the movie -- in attempts to earn laughs -- perpetuated stereotypes and offered up distortions. Among them: Muslims have no sense of humor. Comedy clubs and comedians don't exist in India. Muslims aren't able to work with or respect Jews, are trained to make explosives and are devising a dirty bomb. Their world is antiquated, overcrowded and poverty-ridden."

See also: Islam, Arts/Media