My review of Adam Sandler's new movie, Don't Mess with the Zohan, appears in this week's Westender.
Don’t Mess With the Zohan
By Andrea Warner
Raunchy, rude, and kind of racist, Don’t Mess with the Zohan oozes stereotypes and clichés, but without the cleverness of Harold and Kumar the jokes amount to simple sight gags and an escalating array of crotch and hummus jokes, with much “America is good” rhetoric.
Think of this as Adam Sandler’s version of peace talks with the Middle East. Zohan is an Israeli counter terrorist with gravity-defying moves, an untamed libido, and a secret dream to go to America and be a hair stylist. He fakes his death during a fight with his Palestinian enemy, Phantom (John Turturro), and re-emerges in New York City where he gets a job in a salon.
Dahlia, Palestinian and the requisite “beautiful girl,” owns the salon, which happens to sit in a Middle Eastern neighbourhood, where Palestinian shops face Israeli shops. The whole community is at risk from Walbridge, an old rich white guy in a sharp suit, who wants to build a mall.
The political stuff could almost be interesting, and would make for good satire in other hands. But, the movie’s also hampered by stupid subplots: Zohan “makes sticky” with every woman who breathes before falling for Dahlia; Rob Schneider (himself tolerable, his storyline less so) is Zohan’s former foe out for revenge; and then there’s an apparent Middle Eastern obsession with hackey sack and disco.
The cameos come fast and furious, and are the only consistent bright spots throughout. With a script co-written by reigning comedy King Judd Apatow, Zohan should be far funnier. But, when Mariah Carey is the best thing to happen to a film, the jig is up.