You Don't Mess With The Zohan


Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Written by:Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel, Judd Apatow
Starring: Adam Sandler, Emmanuelle Chriqui, John Turturro, Rob Schneider, Nick Swardson, Lainie Kazan
Released: June 19, 2008
Grade: B+

I don’t know what to make of this film.  It’s pretty “out there”.  I usually associate Adam Sandler with screwball comedies (some good, some bad) and this one is no exception.  It plot is insane but underneath, there’s some interesting political messages and a few intelligent jokes.  This was better than I thought it would be.

Sandler plays Zohan Dvir, an Israeli counter-terrorist agent who has super-human powers.  There is no assignment too challenging.  He has captured many Palestinian terrorists and given them what they deserve.  His latest mission to re-catch The Phantom (Turturro) who was recently let out of an Israeli jail in a prisoner exchange program.

The problem is that Zohan is sick of the fighting and wants to get out of his profession.  He wants to go to the United States and become a hair dresser.  Go figure?  He knows this won’t go down well with his colleagues and his family and so Zohan decides to fake his own death.  He does this when he goes head-to-head with The Phantom.

Life isn’t as easy in the U.S. as Zohan expects it to be.  He struggles to get a job as a hairdresser because he has no experience and a very eccentric personality.  The only job he can find is as a cleaner is a Palestinian hair salon.  Zohan turns down the offer at first but realises he’ll have to take it on as a stepping stone to something bigger.

That opportunity arrives when the manager of the salon, Dalia (Chriqui), agrees to let Zohan cut the hair of a customer.  He offers a very unique service which leaves the customer incredibly satisfied.  Almost instantly, the salon develops a strong reputation and ladies are queuing up outside the store to get their hair cut by the legendary Zohan.

It took a while to get going but as I’ve indicated earlier, this is a decent film.  Some of the terrorism related jokes will be offensive for some but I liked the audacity of the writers to take on more challenging material.  One of the co-writers of the screenplay was Judd Apatow, the man responsible for Knocked Up and the Forty-Year-Old Virgin.  He’s one of the sharpest writers in the business today.

Sandler also helped write the film but he’ll be most remembered for his performance.  He has a few memorable catchphrases and body features.  Zohan is a very strange character and Sandler is the perfect person to play him.

You Don’t Mess With The Zohan is a “hot potato” – you’re either going to love it or hate it.  For maximum enjoyment, I think you’re best to see it with a positive attitude and a willingness to go along with something a little different.  I’ll leave it with you.