Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Well always have ‘The Waterboy’ Adam. Even people that claim they hate Adam Sandler have a favorite Adam Sandler movie, and though I certainly don’t hate Adam Sandler… why would I since he’s never done anything to me... I’m not what you would consider a fan but I did love ‘The Waterboy’. My wife isn’t a fan either but ‘The Wedding Singer’ is one of her favorite movies. My brother on the other hand is a ‘Bulletproof’ guy… yet DNA tests insist that we have the same mother and father. Besides I try to tell the guy that ‘Bulletproof’ isn’t even an Adam Sandler move but a Damon Wayans movie! That’s like saying your favorite Samuel L. Jackson movie is ‘Deep Blue Sea’. Anyways, I’m thinking that the crazy wealthy Mr. Sandler’s latest flick ‘Don’t Mess with the Zohan’ will not be on too many people’s ‘favorite Adam Sandler movie list’, only eclipsing ‘The Longest Yard’ remake which should be on NOBODY’s list, ‘Little Nicky’ which I’m pretty sure is like maybe on two dudes list, and of course ‘Bulletproof’, but that’s not even an Adam Sandler movie.

When we first meet Zohan (Sandler), the super popular anti-terrorism operative is on vacation grilling up some fish nude (?) on an Israeli beach when his handlers drop in from nowhere to whisk him away to yet another dangerous mission. It seems that international terrorist The Phantom (John Turturro) is up to no good and a team must be dispatched to bring him back to justice. The problem is that Zohan already captured The Phantom some time ago and is none too happy that his bosses have given him back in a trade that makes the Dallas Cowboy / Minnesota Viking / Herschel Walker trade look like a good deal. Well Zohan has had enough and on this mission he fakes his own death because he’s tired of the violence, and more importantly his being a super soldier is keeping him from his true passion of being a hair stylist.

Now in New York City and sporting a brand new 1994 styled-do with highlights, Zohan – or Scrappy Coco as he his now calling himself, is finding that becoming a hair stylist isn’t quite as easy as he envisioned but reluctantly takes a job owned by the pretty

Palestinian Dalia (Emmanuelle Chiriqui) sweeping up floors until he gets his big chance to show what he can do. However there’s trouble all around as he is recognized by a Palestinian cab driver Salim (Rob Schneider – who really should name his first kid Adam and his second kid Sandler) who has sworn revenge due to Zohan stealing his goat some years back. The Phantom, who has become a fast food tycoon, is also none too happy hearing that the Zohan is alive since his success is based on having killed the legendary terrorist killer. There’s also an Evil Developer played by legendary fight announcer Michael Buffer who wants to buy the land that the hair shop occupies, which is also occupied by a number of other Israeli and Palestinian shops who have been getting along just fine until this Evil Developer starting using dirty dealings to cause mistrust among these once happy residents. Though he has tried to renounce violence, it looks like the world still needs a hero and it’s going to be up to the Zohan to bring peace to the Middle East-side.

Is ‘Don’t Mess with the Zohan’ funny? Of course it is. Unless you despise Adam Sandler for some reason or another, all of his movies, with the possible exception of ‘Little Nicky’, tend to be funny on some level and this one is no different. What I’m finding with this spate of Sandler comedies is that they follow a pattern where they all pretty much start out funny but they start to lose their steam when the actual story starts to kick in and pretty much collapse by the time we get force fed ‘the message’ in the final act. This was certainly the case with his last two comedies ‘Click’ and ‘I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry’ and it’s the same here as act I is filled with the kind of comedy we expect in a movie like this with the comedy slowing down by act two and by act three we get the sermon… Gays are okay, don’t neglect your family, Jews and Muslims need to get along, don’t suffer from the dehydration… whatever the topic happens to be at the time.

Sandler was pretty good in this, as we have discussed ad infinitum we know the man can act when necessary as he shown on numerous occasions, most recently in ‘Reign over Me’ though his hardcore fans pretty much avoid him those types of films. The rest of the cast was palatable, not great, but placed in positions to maximize the funny bits and in that respect they were successful.

Hell, it’s an Adam Sandler Movie. And quite honestly that pretty much sums it all up as you know what you’re getting before you enter the theater which sometimes you get a little more than you expect and sometimes you get a little less. With ‘Don’t Mess with the Zohan’ the gauge is smack dab in the middle as this Sandler vehicle doesn’t necessarily ascend but it doesn’t greatly disappoint either.

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