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Considered one of the great box-office turkeys of its decade, Ishtar was an attempt by writer/director Elaine May and stars Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty to do a modern-day road picture in the style of the much-loved Bob Hope and Bing Crosby comedy classics. Beatty is Lyle Rogers, a dimwitted songwriter who befriends and partners with Chuck Clarke (Hoffman), who is only slightly more intelligent but every bit as untalented. Together the duo dreams of becoming a big-time lounge act, but their songs, with titles like "That a Lawnmower Can Do All That," are unintentionally hilarious.… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 26%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The performances are endearing enough, the pacing is actually quite crisp and there is no shortage of zany silliness in the story. It just never gels."
‑ Dan Jardine, Cinemania
"If Ishtar has a personal stamp, it's not in what it has to say about Reagan-era militarism, but in what it has to say about collaboration, and how well-meaning people can goose each other to greatness-and folly."
‑ Noel Murray, The Dissolve
"The intentionally bad songs and the early scenes in New York City are amusing, but the movie totally falls apart once Beatty and Hoffman arrive in the fictional country of Ishtar."
‑ Chuck O'Leary,
"It's pretty bad, but not as bad as its legend."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"Yes, it really does live up to the hype of its badness."
‑ Gerry Shamray, Sun Newspapers of Cleveland
"The 1980s saw the release of so many truly atrocious films (Xanadu, Stroker Ace, Bolero, Shanghai Surprise, etc.) that it's absurd "Ishtar" became shorthand for the worst of the worst and continues to be blasted by folks who haven't even seen it."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"Ishtar is a failure on practically every level from its misguided narrative to its lack of humor to the absence of anything remotely entertaining."
‑ Jeff Beck, We Got This Covered
"A failed attempt at doing a modern Bob Hope-Bing Crosby "Road" picture."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"The real joke is that everyone involved is still in the movie business."
‑ Kevin A. Ranson,
"better than it's given credit for"
‑ David Poland, Hot Button
"Besides droll supporting work from an excellent Charles Grodin, Ishtar also gets a lot of mileage out of its terrible and terribly funny songs."
‑ Eric Melin,
"A victim of its own hyped publicity and too harsh criticism, Ishtar is not the worst movie ever made or even a bomb, just a dim-witted silly comedy-thriller (with some good jokes) based on the casting against type of Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Better then you've heard. Paul William's songs are genius."
‑ Michael A. Smith, Nolan's Pop Culture Review
"The model for awful comedies"
‑ Kevin Fiddler, Henderson Home News (Henderson, NV)
"Now come one, this movie was not bad."
‑ Bob Grimm, Las Vegas Mercury
More reviews for Ishtar on Rotten Tomatoes