YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN (2006)
Second rate comedian Adam Sandler has managed to follow I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry with another crapfest of a comedy in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.
Sandler plays the title character Zohan, an Israeli counter terrorist who is something of a superman. Sick of the fighting between the Israeli’s and the Palestinian’s, Zohan fakes his death and makes his way to America where he fulfils his desire to become a hair stylist.
After a rocky start, Zohan finds a job at a salon run by a Palestinian hairdresser (Emmanuelle Chriqui, whose beauty provides a distraction from her vulgar surroundings). In generic fashion they fall in love with each other.
Zohan becomes a success with his cut and bang style (he has sex with older sex starved women after he “works” on their hair in scenes which are a mix of a shampoo commercial and a porno). This brings on a barrage of new clients to the chagrin of a real estate tycoon (Michael Buffer) who wants to tear down New York’s Israel / Palestine district so he can build a super mall. However, this sub plot – along with several others – is under developed and lost in the shuffle.
The idea that the unholy trinity of Sandler, regular cohort Rob Schneider, and director Dennis Dugan could re-unite after …Chuck and Larry begs the question: just how much did these guys sell their souls to get another film green lit? Oh, that’s right Sandler has his own production company. God help us all.
Joining in the fray is current comedic messiah Judd Apatow, who – just like Alexander Payne in ...Chuck and Larry – is credited as a co-writer. If anything, this goes to show that mixing with the Sandler crowd is tantamount to artistic diarrhoea.
It’s just the same old Sandler formula of uninspired gross out humour based upon a big concept. Two recurring jokes are featured; the first has to with Hummus being used in every capacity, the second with Zohan’s enormous package. Neither one are funny.
Knowing full well that his brand of humour just does not cut it anymore on its lonesome, Sandler also seems to be evoking current “it” comic Sasha Baron Coen. In the process, …Zohan feels like an overlong Ali G sketch.
The films other actors are equally atrocious: John Turturro continues to bastardise his reputation as a credible character actor; Rob Schneider continues to build on his reputation as the worst actor working in cinema today; cameo’s by Chris Rock, Kevin James, and the wailing D-cup on legs Mariah Carey sink the film further; and who the hell thought that Michael Buffer could act?
On top of this, …Zohan features a number of social/political observations that does no one any favours. First off is its left wing bias which is so striking that it could be called low brow liberal comedic propaganda. Then there is its pass the buck attitude towards Israeli / Palestinian relations, which asserts that it s not Jewish Israel nor Muslim Palestine who are at fault for their century’s old ongoing war, but it is Christian America who is the real enemy.
Enter Dave Matthews as a head busting hillbilly, along with the obligatory Mel Gibson joke which has become as played out as Sandler’s credibility.
If the film were funny, or slightly poignant in its observations, then its satire on Israel / Palestinian / American relations would be appreciated. But it isn’t, so all it has done was add insult to injury.
Finally, its attempts to make nice with the homosexual community which Sandler and co. ragged on in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (with appearances by George Takei and others) reeks of cheap sentimentality.