The Stupid American
Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World
Review by Ross Anthony

Here’s an unusual, somewhat irreverent comedy written, directed and starring Albert Brooks. I’m an off-again/on-again fan of Brooks, and I guess I was feeling on-again so I had a look – plus I find that title just too curious to pass up. Here I found Albert Brooks on-again. I was laughing during almost every scene. The production glows of a certain drab charm, dry humor that will keep a smile on your face from the purposely awkward beginning to the anti-climactic ending. Almost as a crowning event, there’s a scene where Albert finally gets to do ten minutes of stand up in New Delhi, India. I was at first apprehensive, I was worried, but as it played out… I laughed my socks off. This is a very funny film.

Funny is good, but was Brooks trying to make a wider political statement? It certainly seemed like he was. Could at least a “message” or “theme” of some sort be salvaged from the seemingly silly, almost believable plot line? As the film comes to an abrupt nearly senseless ending (certainly unfulfilling), many viewers will no doubt shake their heads and say: “Just another guy from SNL that doesn’t know how to end a darned skit.”

Okay, so it was me that said that. Anyway, I take it back, or maybe I take it back, that is, I’m not sure. Apparently, I so wanted a message from the film that I noodled it in my sleep and I came up with a possible scenario for which the film did have a good, solid, strong, clear theme. So true this theme, in fact, that it was hard for me to see it: “Some Americans are so damned stupid/egotistic/close-minded when it comes to understanding other cultures. In fact, it’s easier for them to make weapons than to make any real friends over borderlines.” Of course, unfortunately, this affliction isn’t unique only to Americans, but this is probably a good time in history for us (Americans) to realize it about ourselves. And in what better way than with comedy? Couldn’t the world use a little laughter about now?

I absolutely would have given this film a solid A, but even (assuming I’m correct about this theme issue) if that ending was strong on message, it was weak on punch … so I’m nudging the overall grade to an A-, which is still recommendable. Really, I’m recommending it, go see it. Just remember, laughter may be the best medicine, so when it comes to yourself, your culture or even your religion take the light-hearted approach and laugh.

This film screened at a Laemmle Theatre.

Free Signed Book Contest!

  • Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World. Copyright © 2006.
  • Starring Albert Brooks, Sheetal Sheth, John Carroll Lynch, Jon Tenney.
  • Written and Directed by Albert Brooks.
  • Produced by Herb Nanas at Shangri-La.

Grade..........................A- (3/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2019 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:05:05 PDT