Adam Sandler kicks political correctness out the door.
You Don’t Mess With the Zohan
Israel and Palestine, duking it out. Sounds like comedy fodder, right? OK, maybe not. But Adam Sandler pulls it off.
Sandler’s latest flick is also his most outrageous. That’s because instead of simply playing a buffoon, he’s created a strange and unique character in the Zohan, a highly effective Israeli counter-terrorist with a penchant for clipping and feathering (hair, that is).
His arch nemesis is a Palestinian terrorist named “the Phantom” (John Turturro). When Zohan grows tired of kicking ass in the Mossad, he heads to New York to start a new life as a hairstylist.
In New York, the stereotypes really start flying: Israelis running electronics shops and saying anything to get a buck, and an Arab taxi cab driver (Rob Schneider) who calls the Hezbollah help line to find terrorist supplies. These caricatures could be considered offensive—and I’m quite sure someone will be offended—but when you look at the big picture, it’s clear Sandler (a Jew himself, who co-wrote with Robert Smigel) set out to offend everyone equally and, more importantly, place no blame.
For Zohan and others, the United States offers an opportunity for peace. Zohan even goes to work for a Palestinian hair salon, which is run by the beautiful Dalia (Emmanuelle Chriqui). Quite the horndog, he compliments little old ladies by telling them how “bangable” they are, and giving them a little more than just a shampoo and style.
And when he isn’t doing hair, Zohan is chilling with his neighbors (the hilarious Nick Swardson) and standing up to wrongdoers, who think his “fagela” short-shorts and ‘80s ‘do mean he’s a wuss. The theatrics in these scenes really bring the film to life by turning Zohan into a superhero of sorts, doing back flips off buildings and twisting people into human pretzels.
Amid all the absurdity lies a message that, while it isn’t particularly revelatory, basically screams: “Can’t we all just get along?”
Throw into the mix some white-supremacist hicks (Dave Matthews with a mullet) and the answer isn’t so clear.
There are bound to be people who take the movie too seriously and walk out seriously offended—both by the politics and the sexuality, which is rampant—but You Don’t Mess With the Zohan is about having fun, and laughing, and putting everything else aside.