MUSLIMS have a sense of humor? That’s what Albert Brooks says. The actor/ director/writer of the movie Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World plays a comedian sent by the U.S. State Department to schlep over to India and Pakistan and find out what tickles the Muslim funny bone, all in an effort to help the United States improve its relations in a post-9/11 world. Brooks says there’s no mention of religion in the movie, which instead pokes fun at American ignorance of life outside the United States. The movie was filmed late last year at a large Indian mosque, whose imam, Brooks says, laughed when the plot was explained to him.
The movie was originally set to be released in October by Sony Pictures, but the studio backed out in June after Brooks refused to change the title. Some at Sony said the studio chairman was alarmed by the violent reaction to a Newsweek story in May that said interrogators flushed a Qur’an down a toilet at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (The magazine later retracted that story.) However. Sony issued a statement saying it passed on the movie because of its merits, not from fear.
Warner Independent, an art-house unit of Warner Brothers, is scheduled to release the film, title and all, on Jan. 20. The movie will debut at the Dubai Film festival in December.