Written by Adam Sandler & Robert Smigel
& Judd Apatow
Directed by Dennis Dugan
Running Time: 1:52
for crude and sexual content throughout,
language and nudity.
You Don't Mess With the Zohan was a typical, sexed up Adam Sandler comedy that had some laughs but all in all, was pretty dumb.
The Zohan is a member of the Israeli secret service and one of their best operatives. But he's getting tired of the constant fighting and killing, and just wants to become a hairdresser in America. So during a fight with The Phantom, Zohan fakes his own death and escapes to the States. There, he gets a job as a sexy hairdresser who, well, let's just say he takes care of his elderly female appointments. He also falls in love and has to fight to keep her when the secret of his past comes out.
Over the years, Adam Sandler has gotten older and his characters have become less idiotic. If you follow a timeline of his films, you'll see he's gone from being young and really stupid, to older and more mature. His films however are still kind of dumb. At least he's smart enough to know he can't continue to play man-childs and has managed to bring himself up to his age. In You Don't Mess With the Zohan, he plays a very smart and inventive secret service agent with a thick accent who only wants to cut hair and make it silky smooth. He also has a lot of hair, in many places as he likes to point out. The premise is sort of interesting but this isn't the kind of movie that's meant to be taken very seriously. The story allows Sandler to continue to make sex jokes but at least make his character smart about it.
The movie, at its soul, is dumb. The writers (all three, very accomplished by the way) try and add some political discourse to the film, although I'm not sure why they bother. The political aspect of the story boils down to - Israelis and Palestinians should stop fighting. But it's a point that is returned to time and time again, so I think they wanted to make sure we understand that fighting is bad. But it's not a point people going to this movie are really going to care about. Especially when there's a running joke about a Hezbollah hotline that never seems to work. And the biggest issue I had with the film is that just about everyone in it has a really thick accent which sometimes makes it hard to understand them.
There are however, a decent number of jokes in the film that make it worthwhile. I did find myself laughing out loud at a few points, usually with a throwaway line at the end of a scene that felt like it was added in as an afterthought. My favorite sequence came towards the end, when the Jews and Palestinians were comisserating over how the Americans hated them. The Palestinian asked the Jew, 'how could Americans hate you?' And the Jew turns to him and says, 'because they think we are you!' That may have gotten the most laughs of the entire film. There were other funny moments, mainly dealing with Zohan's love of elderly women. Those scenes were those cringe-worthy, you don't want to watch but you kind of have to scenes that you'll either find really funny or extremely stupid.
There were a lot of cameos in the film as well. Rob Schneider of course appears, but this time as a bad guy, so you never hear him say 'You can do it!' which was sad. Kevin Nealon, Michael Buffer, John McEnroe, Kevin James, Chris Rock and others make short appearances as well. And Mariah Carey shows up towards the end of the movie playing herself. However, my favorite supporting character had to be the girl Zohan falls in love with, played by the most beautiful woman on the planet, Emmanuelle Chriqui. I swear I could watch her hit golf balls while wearing a hazmat suit and I'd be happy. She needs to be in more mainstream movies. Casting directors listen up!
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I thought You Don't Mess With the Zohan was so-so. It was rather dumb and pointless, but it had enough humor to make it interesting. Not one of Adam Sandler's best films, but not his worst either.
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