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Albert Brooks premiered his new movie, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, in Dubai last week. In the film, Brooks’s character is sent by the U.S. Government to Hindu India as well as predominantly-Muslim Pakistan to learn more about Muslims and their taste in humor.

From Heba Kandil’s Reuters piece:

“Audiences in Dubai gave mixed reviews of the film, which Brooks wrote, directed and starred in. But for the most part, they welcomed it, saying it was refreshing to see a U.S. production that did not vilify Muslims.

‘It was different from the usual movies we see from America. It’s good to show others cultures of the world,’ said 18-year-old Zeinab from the United Arab Emirates.

But her friend Asma criticized the film for not doing enough to improve the image of Arabs. ‘They showed one perspective of Islam, the Indian and Pakistani one. I don’t think that an American who doesn’t know anything about Islam and the Arab world would learn anything about us from this film,’ she said…

Although the movie does not discuss religion and lightly ridicules Washington, Brooks faced difficulties getting it on screen. He said the title caused Sony to refuse to distribute it fearing reprisals from Muslims, a reaction he said underscored the importance of challenging stereotypes in Hollywood.

Sony said it had passed on the film because of merit.”

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