A Hologram for the King

[3.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

A Tom Hanks movie that bombed at the box office? How did that happen? Well, it's based on a Dave Eggers novel, and I would imagine it's very literary, and translating literary to cinematic is always problematic. Still, I assume they did their best.

Tom plays Alan, an aging salesman for an IT company, trying to sell a holographic chat system to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In a previous life, Alan was on the board of Schwinn, the bicycle people.

But that life is now Gone With the Schwinn.

(I beg your pardon for stealing an old Muppet Movie joke.)

Anyway, his marriage is kaput too, and he's on the hook for paying the college expenses for his daughter, and so off to Saudi Arabia. When he gets there, he has to deal with the bizarre local customs about alcohol, the extreme passive/agressive behavior of the Saudi bureaucracy, a sex-starved Danish lady, and a nasty cyst on his back. And he meets a nice Saudi lady doctor.

Not discussed: the regime's murderousness.

For Talking Heads fans, the opening scene is pretty great.