Let's face it: Albert Brooks will never make anything as flawless as 1985's Lost in America. But when the guy is on, he's one of the funniest comedians in the nation. This new film (which he wrote, directed and stars in) is, even for eager fans, hit and miss. But the hits are incredible. Brooks plays himself, basically, hired by the U.S. government to write a 500-page report on what makes "other people" (i.e. Muslims) laugh. ("Why me?" asks Brooks. "Our first choices didn't accept," is the blunt answer.) The satire isn't quite as pointed as one might hope. (For starters, the "controversial" film is set in India, not the Middle East.) Still, there are enough great lines and absurd situations to overlook the film's occasional dead punchlines.98 minutes PG-13.