Rock the Kasbah

Rated 2.0

A semisleazy rock music manager (Bill Murray) takes his only client (Zooey Deschanel) on a USO tour of war-torn Afghanistan. When she panics and flees the country with his money and passport, he's at loose ends until he meets a good-hearted hooker (Kate Hudson) and a Pashtun girl who sings like an angel (Leem Lubany), whom he decides to promote on Afghanistan's version of American Idol. Director Barry Levinson gives the movie a gritty veneer of realism and sun-baked menace, but Mitch Glazer's script is limp, unconvincing and vaguely distasteful, even despicable—a facile fantasy of stardom among honor-killing savages. The movie presumes on our affection for both Murray and Hudson—to say nothing of Bruce Willis, playing yet another grim-jawed mercenary. (Isn't he tired of that?) False notes abound. J.L.