Comedy superstar Adam Sandler is back - and funnier than ever - as The Zohan, the finest counter terrorist agent the Israeli army has. That is, until he fakes his death and travels to Manhattan to live his dream...as a hai... more »rdresser. Now this skilled fighting machine who used to clip bad guys is out to prove he can make the cut as a top stylist. All goes silky smooth until his cover is blown when he's recognized by a Palestinian cab driver (Rob Schneider). Now, The Zohan must fight to live a peaceful new life in New York in this razor-sharp action-packed comedy from Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel, Judd Apatow and Dennis Dugan.« less
Lewis P. (Turfseer) from NEW YORK, NY Reviewed on 4/25/2009...
No moral equivalence between 'The Phantom' and 'The Zohan'
*** This comment may contain spoilers ***
'You don't mess with the Zohan' is a farce about an Israeli Army special operations counter-terrorist soldier who decides to chuck his career and become a hairdresser in New York. Adam Sandler is very funny as 'The Zohan' right down to the perfect Israeli accent. Since this is a farce, Sandler embraces the stereotype of the typical macho, sexually aggressive Israeli male and the type is exaggerated even further through the use of digital effects.
The first half of the film contains some very funny scenes. I was laughing hysterically when The Zohan expresses his great displeasure that his arch-rival, The Phantom, has been set free after a prisoner swap. Watch for the banter between The Zohan and his Commander as Zohan 'negotiates' his way into volunteering for the mission (also watch for hummus joke #2 where The Zohan dips his chocolate bar into the hummus!)
There's a great scene when The Zohan meets his parents. The father scoops hummus with his eyeglasses and praises him for his abilities as a commando ("You're like a Rembrandt with a grenade", his father tells him).
When The Zohan tries to capture The Phantom, his Commando skills are exaggerated to the point of being completely ridiculous. The Zohan can grab bullets and chops guns up with his hands. When the Phantom blows up a marketplace, the Zohan hands one of the merchants a card for 'free government reparations'. There's also a clever scene where the Zohan can swim like a porpoise and catches up to the Phantom who is fleeing in a speedboat.
Before The Zohan arrives in NYC, watch how he gets his name "Scrappy Coco". When he attempts to get his first job at the Paul Mitchell Studio, we're introduced to the running gag of the night vision glasses (when he spies the unhelpful salon employee through the goggles, she's classified as "Bitchy Bitch" but her ass is "good").
The Zohan gains an ally when he saves a gay delivery guy from being beaten up by a surly businessman on Park Avenue. During this scene, The Zohan twists the businessman into a pretzel shape--it's a another running gag that's repeated too often throughout the movie. Another unfunny bit that misses the mark is when The Zohan ends up in the African-American salon and mistakes a wig for some kind of wild animal and wrestles with it on the floor. It was just too out of character for the cool Zohan to do something as ridiculous as that.
The Zohan's old friend from Israel, Uri, who he meets at a disco, proves to be one of the funniest characters in the film. In a most amusing scene, we're introduced to Uri's electronics store and how all the shady characters operate there. Uri's "dreamkiller" monologue is priceless!
Another hilarious moment is The Zohan's dream flashback where a terrorist cuts off his hand and then The Zohan's hand on its own stabs the terrorist in the back. Loved it!
When The Zohan finally lands a job at a salon owned by a beautiful Palestinian woman, there are a lot of sight gags such as the Zohan brushing his teeth with hummus and slow motion shots of him diving to the floor to prevent pieces of hair from dirtying up the salon. The main joke is The Zohan having no compunctions about servicing the old women clients. It's a joke stolen from Mel Brook's 'The Producers' but he takes it a couple of steps further. The idea of the stud having sex with the little old women gets tired pretty quickly.
While the focus remains on The Zohan, the film is funny and keeps your interest. But once the focus shifts to the Palestinian characters, the Zohan begins to lose steam. The writers attempt to draw some kind of moral equivalence between the terrorist Phantom and The Zohan which fails miserably. Where the over-sexed Zohan is ripe for satire, the idea of The Phantom, a bumbling middle-aged terrorist, who deep down would like to own a shoe store, is too distant from reality to be funny. Simply put, there is no such thing as a bumbling terrorist—you cannot make terrorists into buffoons.
One gets a feeling (especially with the Palestinian cabdriver character played by Rob Schneider and his two cabdriver buddies), that the writers didn't know enough about the Palestinian or Arab culture to create reasonable caricatures to satirize. By reducing them all to bumbling buffoons but also linking them to such unsavory activities as building bombs, the humor is lost. It might have been better to draw a portrait of an Americanized Arab family (perhaps focusing on Dahlia's extended family—the Zohan's love interest) which would have created more comic possibilities in the second half of the film.
The second half features a good number of scenes that no longer focus on The Zohan's journey exclusively: the developers coming to the salon, the board meeting, the red neck plotters and Hacky Sack Mania. Contrast that with the first half where the focus was exclusively on The Zohan's struggle.
The Zohan is a clever idea that runs out of steam. The message of the film—why can't people from different cultures get along—is really a misguided fantasy. 'The Zohan' wants to have it both ways: on one hand it glorifies (despite the affectionate ribbing), The Zohan's fight against terrorists; clearly Sandler is on the side of the Israelis. But at the end, he's able to have the Israelis and the Arabs hug each other after turning the Arab characters into harmless buffoons.
Instead of all the silly slapstick, The Zohan could have had a lot more bite. Why couldn't there be more clever stuff like when the White Supremacist tells Walbridge, "you're a rich guy who gets it—you and Mel Gibson!" If there were only more moments like that!
Back to the Future
Ron | Jersey | 06/25/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sandler goes back to his juvenile roots with this one. That is not a bad thing in my book, I find Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore a riot. In this movie, Sandler plays Zohan. Zohan is a tough as nails Israeli intelligence operative who fakes his death because he is sick of all the violence in the Middle East. He goes to America to become a hair dresser because he wants everyone to have silky smooth hair. Not every joke works, but the silly situations come fast and furious. If one doesn't get you, then maybe the next one will. Yes it is pretty stupid and juvenile stuff, but I found most of the movie amusing. If you like his first movies, then this one is for you."
If only the world could be united with laughter
R. Kyle | USA | 06/07/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Well, clearly, not everyone has the same sense of humor. You've got to walk Disbelief right out the door with "You don't mess with Zohan," but if you just need a fun summer flick and you have a very bent sense of humor, this could be it.
Story in a nutshell: Zohan (Sandler) is tired of the Israeli Army. He busts it to capture a terrorist, the Phantom (John Turturro) and the government merely trades the Phantom back. So--when his next opportunity to go up against his arch nemesis comes up, Zohan stages his own death and comes to America to become a hairdresser. He ends up falling for a Palestinian girl, Dalia (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and realizing there are worse things than his original enemies.
The humor's just as juvenile as you would expect, but if you need a good, hard laugh--and you don't mind gross, this is it. Be warned, you will never look the same way at hummus again!
Rebecca Kyle, June 2008
Worst. Movie. Ever.
Stephen E. Walls | Baltimore, Maryland United States | 11/28/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Not sure what's going on with Adam Sandler these days. It seems as if whatever freshness he brought to the tasble early on is gone. Now, its as if he's pursuing what he thinks is comedy. This wasn't justa bad Sandler movie, it was a bad movie period."
Full of sheer stupidity,not sandler's best at all
C. McDaniel | Georgia | 12/15/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Well, my husband bought this and being a somewhat fan of Adam Sandler I figured I would give it a try. I shouldn't have even bothered. I know it is a comedy but the whole movie is sheer stupidity and a bit crude even though I understand it was the unrated version. I liked Sandler's other movies but this one belongs in the trash."
Perhaps my favorite movie ever
EclecticReader | Silicon Valley, CA | 12/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This hilarious film is perhaps my favorite movie ever. I enjoyed watching the extras on the blueray version. A lot really went into making this film behind the scenes (many stunt doubles, for example). I liked the music too, and since no soundtrack was available had to download many of the tracks separately from Amazon's MP3 store.
Now you may be asking yourself, is she reviewing the right film?
Yes I am. It is hard to believe they even made this film. If you let yourself laugh, it's one of the funniest films ever, and displays a side of Israeli culture rarely seen in other films that take themselves too seriously."