You Don't Mess with the Zohan
For all of Adam Sandler's juvenile comedies, You Don't Mess with the Zohan ranks up there and should please those Sandler-ites out there.
Sandler is arguably one of the smartest movie moguls in Hollywood. As a writer/star/producer, he knows exactly who his audience is and gives them exactly what they want and expect--for better or worse. In this case, it's slightly better than most. He is Zohan, a super-skilled, super-buff--and many times, super-naked--Israeli Mossad agent, who can stop the bad guys with one swift kick and woo the ladies with his amazing butt muscles. But he's tired of fighting and secretly wants to be a hair stylist, so he fakes his death and heads to New York under the alias "Scrappy Coco" to live out his dream. Of course, his past catches up with him, especially after he gets a job at a salon run by the beautiful Dalia (Emmanuelle Chriqui), who also happens to be Palestinian. No matter, he is soon a huge success with the older lady clientele for his, er, unique sensual hairstyling techniques, if you get my meaning. But Zohan's past eventually catches up to him, just as he realizes he can't make the "bang boom" with anyone else but Dalia.
Adam Sandler can just add Zohan to his repertoire. Actually, it's been awhile since we've seen Sandler play someone this over-the-top--and it's kind of refreshing. The actor obviously had to really work out to get the Zohan physique, and he puts himself out there, quite literally, in more ways than one. (Disco dancing while barbequing fish in the nude is gutsy!) Sandler also enlists the help of some of his cronies, particularly Rob Schneider, who plays a Palestinian cab driver, of all things. Nah, that shouldn't piss off anyone. Chriqui from HBO's Entourage is very cute and a worthy love interest, but it's really all the older ladies who get the true benefits of Zohan's mojo, including Lainie Kazan, playing the mother of one of Zohan's friends. And then there's John Turturro, who sheds all seriousness as a known terrorist and Zohan's nemesis, The Phantom. I guess after he did Transformers, Turturro figures he can keep up the silly antics.
Sandler also teams up once again with his old director pal, Dennis Dugan--the same guy who has guided Sandler in his hit comedies Big Daddy and Happy Gilmore. Obviously, it's a synergy that works, but Dugan usually doesn't have to do much more than point the camera. With Zohan , however, Dugan has to incorporate some special effects (Zohan flying through the air, for example) as well as some action stunts. It looks like they had more fun this time around. But, of course, with any Sandler movie, it's all about the comedy, so Sandler doesn't hedge any bets, collaborating with another old friend and SNL alum, Robert Smigel, along with the master of comedy these days, Judd Apatow. Zohan has many signature Sandler moments, and true-blue fans should be pleased. If you're not a fan, however, you might still enjoy some of it--even if you roll your eyes.
Hollywood.com rated this film 2 1/2 stars.