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Review: You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008)

Directed by: Dennis Dugan | 113 minutes | action, comedy | Actors: Adam Sandler, John Turturro, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Nick Swardson, Lainie Kazan, Ido Mosseri, Rob Schneider, Dave Matthews, Michael Buffer, Charlotte Rae, Sayed Badreya, Daoud Heidami, Kevin Nealon, Robert Smigel, Dina Doron, Shelley Berman, Chris Rock,

Although according to co-writer Smigel the script of “You Don” t Mess with the Zohan “was written in 2000, it was only later made into a because of the theme of terrorism with which the film is filled. “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” is not a masterpiece and not nearly as strong as Sandler’s previous production “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” but basically good for a laugh here and there – provided you’re not too demanding.

The fact is actually quite hilarious: a tough Israeli killer machine commando named Zohan (Adam Sandler) wants to give up his macho existence and realize his dream: become a hairdresser in New York. Making people beautiful instead of finishing them. Zohan stages his death when he faces off against his Palestinian nemesis Phantom (John Turturro) and leaves for America. There he baptizes himself as the Australian Scrappy Coco and there is little left of the macho behavior when he also shows stereotypical hairdressing features. But his mojo hasn’t changed and he gives the mostly older ladies a very special treatment. Until he realizes that there is really only one person he loves: the sweet girl who hired him despite everything: hairdresser Dalia (Emmanuelle Chriqui). The problem is that a. She thinks he is Australian and b. she is also of Palestinian descent. When it also turns out that his secret identity is under pressure and the hair salon comes under fire, the problems really start. But as befits a true hero, he saves his damsel from distress and Zohan confronts him.

What Americans see in Adam Sandler’s humor, few Europeans see it. But his silly jokes seem to have diminished in the last few films and more and more are becoming enamored with this comedian. Can Sandler get away with his charming appearance for the first half hour, then he really starts to get irritated (again). Not least because his accent – both Israeli and “Australian” – is getting on her nerves quite a bit. In addition, he is also unconvincing as an Israeli anti-terrorist and continues to look like a disguised Adam Sandler. Rob Schneider – not exactly known for good comedies – plays taxi driver Salim, also fled from Zohan’s area, who picks up Zohan’s trail and wants to rattle him. Schneider is actually just not humorous (think of his immensely lackluster Deuce Bigalow) and is actually nothing compared to a few actors who do look nice. Surprising is newcomer as Nasi, who knows what’s funny and who makes up for a lot with his kind eyes and charming smile.

Fans of the unique – so to speak – Sandler / Schneider humor will probably be proud of this latest Sandler creation, enthusiasts may also appreciate it, but it is not a fantastically strong film. Not even except for a hair.

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