Don’t Mess With The Zohan

By Phèdre von Kallenbach

It’s been many years since I found myself loving a recent Adam Sandler flick. Don’t get me wrong, I love his work. I can ardently quote Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore word for word if necessary, heck, I’m sure I can throw in a few quotes from Big Daddy and Mr. Deeds in there as well. However, the truth of the matter remains: it’s been a long time since Sandler produced anything as remotely funny as Billy or Happy.

Zohan seeks to break that curse and, in my opinion, accomplishes just that. Coupled with the aid of Robert Smigel and infamous newcomer, Judd Apatow, Sandler succeeds in writing a piece of work that borders on comic genius at times. It’s stupid, it’s obnoxious, and it’s ridiculously funny at times. Who needs a plausible plotline when you have witty one-liners and running jokes? The truth of the matter is that this movie will make you laugh at some point or another which, given that it’s a comedy, is a very good thing.

The movie follows the life of Israel’s most famous assassin, Zohan (Sandler). Zohan is a killing machine, a man who can single-handedly bring the whole of Palestine’s guard to its knees, all, save for her greatest warrior: the Phantom (Turturro). Zohan and the Phantom are sworn enemies (surprise, surprise) and it’s no question that the two of them proceed to engage in over-the-top antics in order to vanquish the other. Zohan, however, harbors an ulterior motive: he wants to dress hair. So, given the opportunity, he fakes his death which dueling with the Phantom, thus allowing him the chance to steal away to America to pursue his dreams.

New York, on the other hand, has its own ideas about Zohan. Within moments Zohan is denied the opportunity to pursue his dream at the infamous Paul Mitchell salon, forcing him seek an alternative route. In the end he finds himself seeking employment at a Palestinian salon. It is here Zohan makes his mark and finds his niche in pleasing elderly woman with his art (and we’re not just talking haircuts here, folks). Soon enough word spreads and the once failing salon finds itself succeeding under Zohan’s tutelage, so much so that its owner, the beautiful Palestinian owner, Dalia (Chriqui), even begins to loosen up and approve of Zohan’s efforts. In the end the two of them find their cultural differences waning and their hearts blossoming in lieu of such circumstances.

It is Zohan’s past, unfortunately, that seeks to divide the two of them. No matter how he tries, he cannot shake his demons and those who seek to expose him for what his is. With the aid of Rob Schneider, Nick Swardson, and Lainie Kazan, Zohan proves to be one of Sandler’s best films to date. For those who adore anything under the “Happy Madison” label, I can assure you this film will not disappoint. When in doubt, I’m sure you’ll end up looking twice at hummus by the end of this film.

All in all I give it a B for its efforts.