I’m not a huge Adam Sandler fan.
After seeing the first “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” trailer, I can’t say that I was impressed. It looked like every other recent Sandler movie, full of stupid jokes and physical comedy.
There was one scene in the trailer that did intrigue me. Three men were sitting around a table looking at the telephone. “Welcome to Hezbollah hotline,” it announced. “For weapons, press one.” This could be funny and intelligent, I thought. But then again, it probably will just be stupid.
Therefore, it was a big surprise to me when I laughed straight through the first 15 minutes of the film.
Spanning from Zohan (Sandler) realizing that he no longer wanted to be an Israeli intelligence officer and would rather “cut and style hair” to his faked death, those 15 minutes included some of the most exotic and hysterical fighting techniques I personally have ever witnessed. Zohan, of course, is impervious to pain.
Zohan used a fight with his Palestinian archenemy, Phantom (John Turturro), to pretend he died and reach the United States to fulfill his dream of being a hairdresser without fear of being labeled a “fagallah.”
Once he reached the states, the laughs tapered off and the film’s plot surfaced. The rest of the movie divided into three separate plot lines: Zohan struggling to become a hairdresser, Zohan having sex with every middle-aged to elderly woman in New York City, and the Israelis and Palestinians hating each other. Ironically enough, the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict proved to be the bulk of the comedy.
The movie follows Zohan around New York City as he tries to get a job as a hair dresser after an unsuccessful attempt to meet hair salon guru Paul Mitchell. He ends up getting a job with Dalia (Emmanuelle Chriqui), a beautiful if struggling hair salon owner who, of course, is Palestinian.
Overwhelmed by his zeal, Dalia hires Zohan to sweep the floor clear of hair for no pay.
Eventually, one of her other hairdressers quits and Zohan gets his opportunity to shine. He gives the woman the most orgasmic hair cut of her life, and finished off the experience with having sex with her in the back room. Weird? Definitely. Unnecessary? Completely.
At least a third of the movie is dedicated to Zohan just having sex. He has sex with all the women who come to the salon which, once word gets out of his “treatment”, is quite a few. He has sex with the mother of his friend Michael (Nick Swardson), a man who Zohan befriends and lives with once he landed in New York. He speaks so crudely about the effect of the female on his genitalia that Dalia pulls him aside and tells that he is speaking completely out of line.
The women enjoy the attention of course, and the movie portrays Zohan as being sweet and appreciative about his desire for women instead of being chauvinistic and disgusting. Had anything ever come out of Zohan’s libido, it might not have felt as awkward and uncomfortable, but his rampant sexual encounters added nothing to the plot. The movie would have continued on just fine without it, and would have been a lot funnier.
The movie comes to a head when Zohan unravels a plan by Walbridge (Michael Buffer), the corporate man who had been trying to buy out Dalia’s hair salon in order to build his mall, had been hiring thugs to destroy Israeli and Palestinian shops in New York in order to pit them against each other and allow him to build a mall. Phantom and Zohan find themselves teaming up against a common American enemy.
I wish they had left out all the penis jokes, and put in more hummus ones. I wish that instead of having sex with Mrs. Skitzer, the Palestinian and Israeli merchants had bonded some more over lusting after Hillary Clinton’s thick thighs and discussing Laura Bush’s sex life. I would have even taken another foot joke instead of watching Zohan convince his coworker to help him hump some poor woman’s shoulder.
There should have been more Palestine/Israel humor and less rampant sex. That would have been a great movie. We have enough movies about sex without it getting this weird.