Thursday, 01 October 2020
You Don't Mess With The Zohan
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Thursday, 12 June 2008 00:00

ThumbnailIn some films crudeness is the key to success (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), racial stereotypes speak volumes (Borat) and gross gags are funny enough to be memorable (There’s Something About Mary). Then there are films like You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, which utilizes all of the above comedy components but in a garbled mish-mash that didn’t rate very high on my Laugh-O-Meter.

Zohan is a virtually indestructible Israeli counter-terrorist, catching bullets in his teeth and chasing enemies over rooftops without so much as getting winded. He’s the best at what he does but his true love is cutting hair and he practically worships a copy of a 1980’s Paul Mitchell salon book. So he stages his own death and escapes to America to live the dream, cutting hair and making all his clients “silky smooth”.

Zohan’s full service includes a wash, cut and a little “deep conditioning” in the back room, if you know what I’m saying. His sexual special makes him extremely popular with the older clientele, since he isn’t exactly discriminating! Considering his blatantly obvious stud service to hundreds of women, it amazes me that the beautiful Palestinian salon owner still falls in love with him. I think I’d be demanding a full battery of tests be run before I messed with The Zohan!

ThumbnailProbably the best thing about this movie is the transformation of Adam Sandler into the Israeli agent with a flair for hair. Tanned and lean, sporting a beard and cut-off Mariah Carey t-shirt, he embodies the character. Another stand out in the film is John Turturro as Zohan’s Palestinian nemesis The Phantom. Judging by the amount of celebrity cameos – about one every ten minutes – you can tell Sandler has a lot of friends and a lot of fun on the set. Everyone from George Takei to Chris Rock makes an appearance. There’s even a horrifically bad cameo by Mariah Carey herself, which explains the t-shirts.

Zohan has much to say about tolerance and the state of the world today. The message comes across loud and clear, but the methods of communication are cluttered. Like most of Sandler’s work some moments are inspired and others are just sloppy. What could have been a hilarious political satire ends up settling for juvenile jokes and the easy way out. It just isn’t very funny!

My advice, don’t bother with The Zohan.