With The Zohan
and Palestine have been at odds for over a thousand years.
The Middle East has been at turmoil ever since as battles
wage over a holy land and it’s rightful heirs. Peace
has been sought, and many a peacekeeper has tried to maintain
a reasonable concord and ultimately failed. And then came
Sandler’s new movie, You Don’t Mess with
the Zohan, he brings the Israel/Palestine struggle
to the masses with an absurd and stereotypical farce. Sandler
plays the Zohan, a Mossad super agent, who loves to Disco
Disco and down bottles of a fizzy soft drink. After just
a few minutes it's painfully obvious why you shouldn’t
mess with the Zohan. He’s cool, carefree, confident,
popular and strong as an ox. Literally!
and loving it, the Zohan is reluctantly called out of retirement
to re-capture a Palestinian terrorist known as The Phantom
(No, not Billy Zane; this Phantom is played by the unbalanced
it turns out that our little Zohan is tired of all the fighting.
Where does it end, really? All our sensitive killer wants
to really do is cut and style hair, the 1984 Paul Mitchell
way. With no support from his friends or family, the Zohan’s
left with little choice and fakes his death in his confrontation
with The Phantom, sneaking off to America to follow his
dream to make everyone’s hair silky smooth.
for the Zohan, America isn’t as accommodating as Israel
and he finds the transition confusing. He soon befriends
hapless New York bicyclist Michael (A refreshingly non-gay
Nick Swardson) and soon the Zohan begins his journey to
become the best hair stylist in New York.
leads to him finding himself right back in the middle of
the conflict he left behind in the Middle East, as the Zohan
ends up in a part of New York that has Israeli businesses
on one side of the street and Palestinian owned ones on
the other. It’s here he finds the only shop in the
city that will give him work; regrettably, it’s on
the Palestinian corner.
Here the Zohan
finds a home for the time being and hiding the fact that
he’s Israeli he continues his quest to be the best
and destroy all who oppose him. More or less.
by Happy Madison regular Dennis Dugan (Happy Gilmore,
Big Daddy, Chuck and Larry), You Don’t Mess
with the Zohan is a funny movie. It’s ridiculous
but very likable. However, being an average informed viewer,
I’m not sure how racist it really is.
film plays very strongly on the stereotypes of Middle Easterners,
but makes fun of both sides equally. What it also does wisely
is to not make these characters one dimensional, but to
give them actual development so that when we laugh it’s
at the situations these people are in and not at their ethnicity.
movie also flows really well, and mechanically at least,
is by far a big improvement on Dugan and Sandler’s
previous effort I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry,
which was just an editing mess.
like most Sandler movies of late, this film is thick with
theme and message. Not only is the Zohan tired of the endless
fighting between the two peoples, so is Sandler. Written
by Sandler and unsung comedy great Robert Smigel (Triumph
the Insult Comic Dog, SNL, Conan O’Brien),
Zohan hopes to solve a millennia plus' old conflict in the
span of a summer popcorn flick. (And if it were that simple,
he probably could with this flick)
has its laughs. The cast is likable if not hard to understand
through thick accents. Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage)
is smoking hot as the Zohan’s love interest Dalia,
and Rob Schneider returns to prove that he can offend just
about every ethnicity as the Palestinian cab driver Salim.
The supporting cast is good, and a sexy cameo from Mrs.
Garret will have even the mildest of Facts of Life
part was a call back to an old SNL sketch in an
electronics store where the salesmen were trying to pass
knock-off gear for name brand prices all the while saying,
“Not Sony, Same thing, got Sony guts.”
The best parts
in this film is when the Zohan is the Zohan and he’s
righting wrong. Sandler is in great shape, and he pretty
much runs around mostly naked the whole film, but I’m
sure the ladies will love it.
the movie is wacky and absurd, but it’s not bad. It
doesn’t sacrifice story for the sake of laughs, it
has both and they work well together. The message doesn’t
bog down the story too much, and the portrayal of the different
ethnicities doesn’t seem that offensive. And if Sandler
has his way, he will bring the Israelis and the Palestinians
together…at least in a movie theatre.