New York Times By Dave Kehr
FRESHLY returned from the Middle East, where his new film, “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World” had its world premiere as part of the second annual Dubai International Film Festival, Albert Brooks sounded exhausted, elated and relieved.
“This had never happened before,” said Mr. Brooks from Los Angeles. “There’s been no other American comedy that’s made light of anything after 9/11. Nobody knows what will happen. The audience could stand up and walk out, they could boo, who knows? I don’t have any road map here. I was told that, ‘We think it will be O.K.,’ but I was also told that people don’t mince words here. If you hit the nail wrongly, it’s like your thumb: you know it right away.” Continue reading
Indian Express/Arts Etc By Sanjukta Sharma
Albert Brooks samples Muslim laughter from Delhi streets in his new film.
YOU’VE seen him in Martin Scorcese’s Taxi Driver. In The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and in The Muse, where Sharon Stone played the title role. Twenty-six years after comedian Albert Brooks played himself in Real Life, another idea for a self-portrayal unfolded in his head. The plot: Politician-actor Fred Dalton Thompson summons Brooks to Washington DC. He must be a diplomatic emissary for the US government. His brief: ‘‘Go to India and Pakistan and file a 500-page report on what makes the over 300 million Muslims in the two countries laugh.’’ Unable to resist the prospect of a ‘Medal of Freedom’ that the effort would fetch him, Brooks arrives with a big crew in Delhi in early 2005.
Middle Eastern settings are unsurprisingly writ large over the lineup of the second Dubai Film Festival this weekend. The Film festival, which has livened up the Gulf city’s cultural life, is seen as a venue for new filmmakers to present their often quite challenging fare to audiences of considerable ethic diversity.
Top of the bill is Albert Brooks’s satirical Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, in which Brooks plays a man sent to Pakistan at the behest of the US Administration to forge a more harmonious post-911 world. Although the film sends up US policy and American ignorance about the region and its inhabitants, Brooks told Reuters news agency that its eye-catching title had caused Sony to pass on distribution rights for fear of arousing Muslim suspicion and reprisals.
Also screening are the Israeli-Palestinian co-production and drama Paradise Now, and a documentary about the Christian Lebanese Forces militia that slaughtered Palestinian refugees in 1982.
Rediff India Abroad By Arthur J Pais
The script called for a shot of the exterior of the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi but writer, actor and filmmaker Albert Brooks, who says he had received ‘unprecedented access to mosques, temples and monuments,’ quickly discovered that his list did not include the embassy.
Brooks’s film, now known as Looking For Comedy In The Muslim World, did not even have a title during the shoot. Or, if it did, hardly anyone knew of it. For one thing, he was afraid the title would create controversies. The film, which also stars America-raised Sheetal Sheth, revolves around a comedian (Brooks) who has to spend a month in India and Pakistan, write a 500 page report, and tell Washington what makes the over 300 million Muslims in the region laugh. But he finds people aren’t opening up. He is also surprised to discover there are no comedy clubs in India or Pakistan. So, he decides to put on the first comedy concert in New Delhi. His problems continue. Continue reading
Townhall.com By John Stossel
Sony Pictures got upset about a “bad” word. They demanded it be taken out of the title of a movie. The word is “Muslim.”
Give me a break. Do we have to be that sensitive? Or fearful?
The movie is “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World.” The writer and star of the movie, Albert Brooks, says he made the movie because he was concerned that, in the wake of 9/11, Americans hated even the word “Muslim.” “A part of me always thought,” Brooks said, “what are there, a billion-and-a-half Muslim people on this planet, and I never thought that all of them wanted us dead.”
Los Angeles Times Calendarlive.com By Patrick Goldstein
Something’s wrong when a studio balks at a comedy this inspired.
Albert Brooks performs a stand-up comedy concert in "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World." (Lacey Terrell)
In the days after the calamitous 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, there was a brief flurry of soul-searching in Hollywood, focusing in part on how much of a role our movies played in stirring Muslim rage against America. As innumerable cultural historians have discovered, many devout Muslims are horrified by the sexual innuendo and crass materialism in Hollywood films and music videos, not to mention Vanity Fair, whose salacious cover spread this month of Paris Hilton pretty much says it all when it comes to celebrating even the tawdriest members of our celebrity culture.
The Washington Post By Ann Hornaday
Is there an actor alive who can make discomfort as hilarious as Albert Brooks?
Woody Allen comes to mind, and indeed Brooks has often been called Allen’s West Coast obverse. But the comparison doesn’t do justice to Brooks as the original that he is. Happily, Brooks takes center stage in “The In-Laws,” a surprisingly sprightly remake of the 1979 movie starring Alan Arkin and Peter Falk. Here, Michael Douglas takes on Falk’s role of the high-flying undercover agent, but in the updated version Douglas is mostly a slick, loquacious foil for Brooks’s pained comedy, which gets only funnier as the film gets busier. As an anxious Everyman caught in a whirlwind of international intrigue and ever-escalating action, Brooks is a quietly molten core of hapless, and helplessly funny, midlife angst.
New York Daily News By Nancy Mills
Father of the Bride Meets a Son of a …: Albert Brooks in ‘The In-Laws’
HOLLYWOOD — Albert Brooks is not pacing around his hotel room. He has two movies about to open — “The In-Laws” tomorrow and “Finding Nemo” May 30 — but angst is not piling up in little neurotic molehills.
What’s wrong with him?
“Having a wife and kids has more than mellowed me,” says Brooks, 55, who married multimedia artist Kimberly Shlain six years ago and is the father of a son (Jacob, 4 1/2) and a daughter (Claire, 3).
Los Angeles Times Calendar Section By Lewis Beale & Jennifer S. Altman
In “The In-Laws,” Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks
clown and carouse in the best tradition of comedy teams.
Abbott and Costello. Rowan and Martin. Hope and Crosby. Burns and Allen.
Douglas and Brooks?
Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks haven’t exactly joined the pantheon of immortal comic teams, but they give it their best shot in the Warner Bros. film “The In-Laws,” opening Friday. Based very loosely on the 1979 comedy starring Peter Falk and Alan Arkin, the movie features Brooks as an uptight Chicago podiatrist who, because their children are about to get married, becomes involved with wild and crazy CIA operative Michael Douglas.
In 1971, a stand-up comic named Albert Brooks wrote an Esquire article about a non-existent school for comedians. Later, PBS hired him to make an information commercial for the same fake school. The show ran on the network’s The Great American Dream Machine. Brooks went from there to a season making short films for Saturday Night Live and wrote, directed and starred in the feature film Real Life.
Since then he has made six films of his own and has taken acting roles in 10 other movies including the recent My First Mister, which marked the directing debut of Christine Lahti. While promoting the film, Brooks talked to Reel West about Saturday Night Live, the on-set problems that arise when the director also acts and the reasons why he became a triple threat.