My Canadian-bought Ishtar Bluray arrived today. Watching it now, smiling, going with it, chuckling now and then. It’s a comedy, yes, but you have to forget about it being one. Laugh or don’t laugh, but either way it’s Ishtar — one of the best faintly funny farces ever made. About delusion, middle-aged failure, life without a net, the unbearable absence of talent, friendship, futility, pretty eyes, idiot shenanigans and dumb luck.
Ishtar is a bit like a biplane that lifts off a partly muddy runway, rises 30 or 40 feet, comes down again, splashes through puddles, lifts off again…over and over, trying and trying, and you have to love it for that. The fact that it doesn’t roll strike after strike is what’s so endearing. Every so often you want to reach out and give it a nice hug. This is a great comedy about losing. And the Marrakech cafe sing-along (“There’s No Business Like Show Business”) is one of the happiest scenes I’ve ever known.