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What a spiteful movie. I love my fair share of Beatty and Hoffman, but everything here reeks of being washed up. It opens, like any movie should, like a shitty open mic: the act is terrible, but you're supposed to applaud the foolishness of our singer/songwriter duo of Chuck and Lyle. A few breakups and a played-for-laughs suicide attempt later, the two head for fame and fortune in Morocco, only to end up as pawns for the CIA in between the Soviets, rebels, and oil. Because suicide and espionage are hilarious, right?
Despite its beautiful cinematography, Ishtar breaks down everywhere. What's originally an homage to Road to Morocco is destroyed through inane political satire. It feels like the most bizarre vanity project possible; a bunch of New York schlubs make it big. There's exotic women, desert, camels, AK-47's, and a big finish in a Casablanca bar. Find some way to glue it together. It's a dreadfully boring fantasy only a schlub can think of. Elaine May made a movie edited by a schlub committee to make schlub dreams come true. Because showing off that you're a schlub is the best comedy.
There's no doubt that excess ruined Ishtar. Against good intentions, May's perfectionism patches together so many unneeded details. Every grain of Saharan sand, every Paul Williams original song is dragged into making such a poorly-glued together farce. Every situation is shrugged off with ignorance or stupidity; the tunnel vision our leads have is beyond staggering. When schlub dreams come true, they still make little sense.
The whole exercise praises mediocrity. I sense a trend in horrid comedies from the 90's onward possibly pioneered in Ishtar with that schlub fantasy gimmick. Films like these command you not to laugh but lie prostrate, in awe of our foolish heroes as they extol their lack of worth and get covered in camel spit and worse. At least Ishtar had a pedigree, not that it mattered. Must to avoid.
I\'m sorry but as a redlettermedia fan I am obligated to do this: 3,2,3,4-4,2,3 AND These men are PAWNS! I put a price of 20,000 dirham on their heads. Next they will be hailed as the true messenger of GOD! They were just a couple of songwriters, who came to Ishtar, to break into show business. Easy boy, easy boy, easy boy, easy boy! What the hell\'s the matter with him is he blind?! Well yeah he is, bu-but he\'s in perfect condition. So how did they wind up on everyone\'s hit list? Your life is in danger. Behave normally we have guns pointed at your back. No don\'t put your hands up you idiot! Oh little darlin\'. My little darlin\'. I can\'t believe these men may control the fate of the Middle East. Oh where, ar-are you? Do it! Ayiyiyiyiyiyi schmechahii buttahotsfayaaah! This is unbelievable. HOOPA HOOPA HOOPA Kno-ow well-a. That my love-a Are the two American messengers of god dead yet? Is this the oasis? Does this look like an oasis to you? Yeah look at the birds! Are those vultures? YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH Wa-as just fo-or you He\'s aiming at us! Would you stop being paranoid! Run smuck, they\'re trying to kill us! Warren Beatty. Dustin Hoffman. Isabelle Adjani. Your girl? How did she get to be your girl? ONLY YOU! I think they\'re wonderful! Ishtar: Written and directed by Elaine May Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha this is some of our best work!
Oh, you hack frauds! I still loves ya! =)
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