Looking For Comedy in the Muslim World
Comic and filmmaker Albert Brooks serves his country while struggling to get some laughs in this offbeat satiric comedy. Brooks plays himself, a comedic filmmaker whose most recent success was providing the voice of a fish for an animated feature and who has just been passed by as director for a remake of Harvey. As Brooks wonders what's going to happen next with his career, his wife (Amy Ryan), and his daughter, he's approached by government representatives who want him for a special assignment. The State Department, eager to better understand the cultural gap between the United States and the Middle East, have been directed by the president to make a study of what makes Muslims laugh. Brooks is asked to fly to India and Pakistan and bring back a 500-page report on Muslim humor; told the Medal of Freedom may be his if he comes through, Brooks accepts. With a pair of State Department officials in tow, Stuart (John Carroll Lynch) and Mark (Jon Tenney), and some help from a local assistant, Maya (Sheetal Sheth), Brooks sets out to find the funny bone of India's and Pakistan's Muslim communities, though it doesn't take long to find out what they don't find funny -- his standup act. Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World was originally set for release in the United States by Sony Pictures Classics, but when they became nervous over the film's title, they dropped the project and it was picked up for distribution by Warner Independent Pictures.