I don't think Albert Brooks is especially interested in what makes Muslims laugh. The premise of the West Coast Woody Allen's latest film - that the U.S. government packs him off to the Islamic world to study what makes them giggle - is one that he backs away from almost at the start. For one thing, it's decided that his trip will focus on India, which, despite having over a hundred million Muslims, has another billion people who are not Muslim. The country is neither governed by Muslims nor rooted in Muslim traditions. The subliminal issue raised by the film's title - that we need a psychological profile of the average Muslim toot sweet - can't really be resolved by a trip to India. Just the opposite, in fact. Instead of a homework assignment, India proves to be a comic playland for Brooks - a nation full of happy call-center operators and people who are willing to laugh at jokes about "Kashmir" sweaters and Halloween "Gandhi." In what may not be an entirely scripted moment, Brooks stops one Indian man on the street and tells him a Borscht Belt Polish joke, circa 1952 - it cracks the man up. So why not re-title the film Looking for Comedy in the Hindu World, and Finding It?

tags comedy
categories Cinematical