You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (Columbia Pictures, PG-13)

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zohan.jpgHere’s the plot: The Zohan (Sandler) is the greatest Israeli fighter of all time, but all he wants to do is cut hair. This would be a funny premise for a “Saturday Night Live” sketch or a half-hour show, but Sandler draws it out for over 90 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

My only hope after seeing You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, the latest disaster from the once-funny Adam Sandler, is that it is not number one at the box office after its opening weekend. I pray that people go see Sex and the City again or give Kung Fu Panda a shot; either option will be vastly more enjoyable for the viewer.

Here’s the plot: The Zohan (Sandler) is the greatest Israeli fighter of all time, but all he wants to do is cut hair. This would be a funny premise for a “Saturday Night Live” sketch or a half-hour show, but Sandler draws it out for over 90 minutes. After pretending to be defeated by the Palestinian terrorist the Phantom (John Turturro), the Zohan flees the Middle East and comes to America to make hair “silky smooth.”

The movie has star cameos coming out of its ears, none of which make the movie funny or even tolerable. Sandler’s accent drifts between Middle Eastern and French and at times sounds very similar to Borat Sagdiyev, a sad reminder that we are not watching a funnier and more original movie. Turturro is even unbearable as the Phantom. Of all the actors, he should have been the one to add something of substance, but instead delivers line after line in the same monotone cadence.

Are there funny moments? A few, mainly the repetitive joke that the Zohan has a way with older women, much older women. Other than that, I’m not sure what the movie was trying to do. At the beginning it verges on an action movie farce, then quickly becomes just another Sandler comedy, attempts to develop a love story and then takes a tangential turn into world politics.

The best part of the movie by far was reading the writing credits. They are listed as “Adam Sandler & Robert Smigel and Judd Apatow” meaning even the studio knew what Sandler and Smigel wrote wasn’t funny and they paid Apatow to come in and add some actual funny material. If you are unfortunate enough to see the movie, I guarantee anything you laugh at was written by Apatow and added at the last minute.|Matthew F. Newlin

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