From The Movie Snob.
A Hologram for the King (Book: B) (Movie: C). I finished reading the novel (by Dave Eggers) yesterday, and today I saw the brand-new movie based on the book. I thought the book was pretty good, and the movie was fair-to-middling. It’s a story about Alan Clay (Tom Hanks, That Thing You Do!), a formerly successfully salesman who’s now in his mid-50s and not so successful. We join Alan on his way to Saudi Arabia, where he’s going to try to sell a high-tech video-conferencing system to the King himself. He’s pretty desperate; his debts are mounting, and his daughter will have to drop out of college if he doesn’t close the deal. But the Desert Kingdom operates under a whole different set of rules, and Alan’s already fragile mental state is further threatened by a weird lump on his back that he thinks might be cancer. I was curious to see if they’d get big stars to play the main supporting characters—the young Saudi guy who drives Alan around when he oversleeps, the Danish woman he accidentally befriends while he’s trying to figure out what’s going on at King Abdullah Economic City, the doctor who looks at Alan’s lump—but they didn’t. (Tom Skerritt, Alien, does pop in as Alan’s dad.) As I say, I thought the book was pretty good, but they definitely softened Alan up a little bit, as befits a character played by Tom Hanks, and they left out some of the book’s darker bits.