Almost all of Adam Sandler’s movies have major elements of ridiculousness to them, but like most people, I find myself wanting to see films he stars in.
There have been some truly awful ones (e.g. "Mr. Deeds," "Little Nicky," and "The Waterboy") but I am hesitant to add his latest movie, "You Don’t Mess with the Zohan" to the list. Don’t get me wrong, it’s up there, but not quite there.
The movie starts out funny enough, but goes down hill from there. We meet the Zohan, a popular Israeli counter-terrorist. Every man wants to be him, and every woman wants to be with him.
After impressing some bikini-clad babes with his nude culinary skills (he even catches a fish between his, um, cheeks), a helicopter swoops down and tells Zohan his services are required to catch the infamous Palestinian Phantom (John Turturro) again.
In a coup, Zohan caught him before, but the Israeli military let him go for some reason or other. The fake accents were hard to comprehend at times.
Despite being tired of the never-ending conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, he agrees to capture him again. In a hilarious fight to the death, complete with ping-pong grenade playing, Zohan fakes his own death and escapes to America to fulfill his dream of becoming a hairstylist in New York.
In the cargo bay of the plane, he meets two dogs and takes their names for his own and becomes Scrappy Coco, a struggling hairdresser of Australian-Nepalese (or, as he says, Mount Everest) descent.
Like most who come to the United States in search for the American dream, he fails – miserably. He is mocked for his "Avalon" hairdo at the Paul Mitchell salon, attacks a weave at another beauty shop and then Vulcan neck pinches a boy who starts crying after Zohan’s detailed description of killing seven men already when he was the boy’s age.
Discouraged, he wants a job at a "going out of business" electronic supply shop ran by a Jewish friend from the old country. The owner tells him that dreams die when working at an electronic shop, and tells him about the beauty shop across the street (on the Palestinian side) ran by the beautiful Dalia (Emmanuelle Chriqui).
Zohan gets a job there, (cleaning up hair at first) and is quickly a success when he gets his chance at hair snipping. His sensual hair washing, gyrating hips, and his taking the elderly female clients in the back for "boom-boom" attracts tons of attention.
But when that attention turns sinister from an envious cab driver with a grudge (Rob Schneider), can Zohan retain his dream of making everyone’s hair slick and stylish, or will be brought back into the counter-terrorist mix when the cabbie plots to kill him? (Oh, and there’s this side plot of a greedy developer who hires a Neo-Nazi, pro-gun gang to destroy the Israeli and Palestinian shops because he wants to build a mall with a roller coaster.)
The funniest parts of the movie are when Sandler is absurdly fighting his enemies (he disassembles a machine gun in two seconds), but when he comes to America, the movie becomes almost as flat as a really bad hair day.
The only thing that really saves it from becoming another bad Sandler movie, is how much fun all of the actors seem to have with the material and being able to appreciate the sweetness of the character and Sandler himself.
I gave this film a C-.
Dedra Cordle is a Messenger staff writer.