Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

You Don't Mess with the Zohan

Review by Chris Maitland

I have been a big Adam Sandler since I first Saw Happy Gilmore at the age of 8.  But since that film (and the equally classic Billy Madison) his work has varied.  There has been some good stuff (The Longest Yard, Anger Management, The Waterboy), some bad stuff (Click, Punch-Drunk Love, Spanglish) and some right in the middle (The Wedding Singer, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry).  I would put his most recent effort, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan in that third category; right in the middle.

Sandler plays the title character of Zohan, an counter-terrorist operative working for the Israeli Mossad, who, though being very good (in fact, the best) at what he does, has started to weary of the interminable fighting.  He then decides to stage his own death so that he can come to New York City to pursue his dream of becoming a hair stylist.  Armed only with a can-do attitude and a hopelessly outdated Paul Mitchell style catalog, he makes his presence felt almost immediately.

I have to say, I found the concept of this film to be hilarious, but the results fell just short of that expectation.  Sandler’s character is funny throughout the film, and the supporting cast is also solid.   Believe it or not, Sandler’s perennial sidekick, Rob Schneider, is actually tolerable for once.

What also surprised me about this film is the actually had a sort of message to it.  It was about Israeli and Palestine relations and how it’s a kind of ridiculous that their feud has gone for this long.  To quote Zohan’s mother, “It’s been going on for 2,000 years… it can’t be much longer!”  It is a light film, ridiculous even, but it does at least make that point.

This is not Sandler’s best work ever. But if you’re looking for a laugh, there are definitely worse ways that you could spend two hours.  I would say that if you are not a fan of Adam’s work, you will probably like You Don’t Mess With the Zohan.  I hope that you have a “silky-smooth” time watching it.  .  If not, well, there’s always the latest Mike Myers film.  Um, on second thought, scratch that.

3 ½ / 5 stars

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