You Don’t Mess with the Zohan Review
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Could it be that Adam Sandler has decided to go out and rid the world of hatred and prejudice? After all, in last summer’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, he told audiences that it’s okay to be gay. Now, in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, he promotes peace, love, and hacky sack between Israelis and Palestinians.

But while the message may sound heavy, Zohan has all the random wackiness that you’d expect from Sandler and his band of regulars. Add to that a surprising alliance with co-writer Judd Apatow, and you’ve got an irresistibly silly Sandler comedy.

Sandler stars as Zohan, an Israeli counter-terrorist whose grenade-launching lifestyle has lost its glamour. No matter how many times he captures his Palestinian nemesis, The Phantom (John Turturro), the Israelis just keep making trades and setting him free. So Zohan fakes his own death, leaves the Middle East, and stows away on a plane to New York City, where he plans to follow his dream of working as a stylist at the Paul Mitchell salon.

  
 
Once in New York, Zohan poses as an Australian stylist named Scrappy Coco—and he ends up sweeping hair at a small salon owned by Palestinian Dalia (Emmanuelle Chriqui). When he finally gets his big break, he becomes a hair-styling superstar—thanks to the extra, um, perks he gives his clients. But then a Palestinian cab driver (Rob Schneider) recognizes him—and decides to bring down The Zohan.

If you’ve ever seen an Adam Sandler comedy, you’ll have an idea of what to expect from Zohan: random gags that sometimes go just a bit too far (yeah, Zohan has a huge package, and he loves hummus—I get it already), sophomoric gross-out humor, and a whole bunch of silly cameos from Sandler’s pals (from John McEnroe to the surprisingly hilarious Dave Matthews). This time around, you’ll also find some wacky (but fun) fight scenes, lots of ridiculous accents, and plenty of clichés (mainly involving Mariah Carey, hacky sacks, and hummus).

At the same time, though, there’s something just a bit different about Zohan. Sometimes, it’s so surprisingly funny that you won’t be able to keep from laughing—no matter how hard you try. But the gags aren’t always as in-your-face as expected. Even Rob Schneider seems toned-down—and even tolerable—this time. And while there could be a million different reasons for all that, I’m just going to assume that the Judd Apatow collaboration works well for Sandler. It seems as though Apatow evened out the humor a bit—and freshened things up—while Sandler’s comedic stamina ensures that the laughs rarely let up. Keep an eye on these two—because they could create one powerful comedic conglomerate.

As an old-school Sandler fan, I didn’t really expect to like Zohan—but I was relieved that I did. Sure, it’s random and kooky, but it’s Sandler’s best since his 2004 rom-com, 50 First Dates. And while you’ll still need that special sense of humor to enjoy it, Sandler’s fans definitely will.

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