Review Corner: You Don’t Mess With The Zohan

10/04/2010 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

Name: You Don’t Mess With the Zohan (2008)

Genre: Comedy

Directors/Writers: Dennis Dugan  / Adam Sandler,Robert Smigel,Judd Apatow

Actors of note: Adam Sandler,John Turturro,Emmanuelle Chriqui,Nick Swardson,Lainie Kazan,Rob Schneider

DT’s Rating: 6/10

As is usually the case in our family back at home, my mum had been raiding the supermarket for cheap DVD films to entertain us. Usually these finds are very hit and miss – sometimes you get great films you would never have really bought or come across normally like ‘the Bucket List’ or ‘Evan Almighty’, and other times you get some horrifyingly dismal excuses for films that make you cringe, like the first hulk film, ‘Domino’ or ‘About Schmidt’.

‘You Don’t Mess With the Zohan’ [Ydmwtz] falls somewhere in between.

Rating a film simply on a scale of 10 can be difficult. Considering how disposed I am to dishing out 8’s and 9’s for everything I really enjoy, you might at first thing that a 6 is an indication of a comparatively bad film. But that’s not necessarily true. The key word here is ‘comparatively’.

For example, compared to some brilliant films like ‘fight club’, ‘the green mile’, ‘dogma’, ‘the 5th element’, ‘the 6th sense’ etc, of course Ydmwtz is awful. Comparatively.

BUT, to be honest, this isn’t the kind of film you pick up, expecting a quality experience of filmmaking, or even much of a story. You pick it up, wanting a light laugh with dinner or at a sleepover or with lunch on a weekend (hell, no one watches the ‘scary movie’ franchise for its quality, but that doesn’t stop them being hilarious). If, you approach it like this, with your expectations loose and happy, then actually Ydmwtz delivers suprisingly well, because it doesn’t pretend to be anything else that an easy giggle.

The plot is this: Zohan is a kindhearted and freakishly talented Israeli counter terrorist, but he grows tired of all the fighting and longs to follow his dream of being a hairdresser. In a fight with his nemesis – the Palestinian terrorist ‘Phantom’ – he fake his own death and travels to New York (naming himself ‘scrappy coco’ and posing as ‘half australian, half mount Everest’) to find his fortune. However it’s not as easy as it looks, and after many unsuccessful attempts he lands a job sweeping hair in Palestinian’s salon, in the israeli-and-palestinian ethnic street. Soon his talent for cutting hair and ‘sexual services’ to the old ladies of the area get the business booming. However it seems he can’t run from his past,a nd soon he has to protect both the Israelis and the Palestines of the street…

The film is one of the silliest I’ve seen in ages – complete unadulterated fun that doesn’t even come close to taking itself seriously. It was interesting and endearing to me on many levels: it was crude, but without being threatening or repulsive – more childish, and even toyed with and then avoided the more obvious jokes. The humor was often bizarre, especially with the running obsession with houmous and the crazy antics of Zohan’s body which were reminiscent of Goldmember rollerskating (in the ‘austin powers: goldmember’ film). Finally I found it funny and pretty unqiue how the film effortlessly and unashamed sidestepped the usual fodder of stereotype-comedy and made their own ‘new’ group to poke fun at taht is rarely touched in cinema. Focusing on the Israli and Palestine group, creating and playing with streotypes, and yet being completely harmless in how it did it – being fun without racist, silly without underlying prejudice, and laughing with everyone rather than at them – and it didn’t seem forced. Furthermore the film attempted to make a serious commentary about the futility of the fighting between both factions, but in the silliest way possible. And, in an odd way, it worked.

In short, the film was surprisingly unique and enjoyable. The humor is silly and dumb, but never tries to be anything else, and has a adolescent energy and humor that makes even the crudest of jokes innocently funny rather than creepily uncomfortable (as i’ve noticed can happen with a lot of the immature style comedies at the minute. i’m looking at you 40year-old virgin and superbad :p)

It doesn’t come close to being as good as some of Sandler’s other films like ’50 first dates’ or ‘happy guillmore’, but, while I’ve given it 6/10, i’d still recommend it for anyone looking for a bit of light film fun.


Zohan: [Zohan approaches apprehensive-looking young kid sitting in Barber chair] Young man! Look what I have found here, a nice balloon. Do you want it?
[hands kid balloon]
Zohan: You know, you shouldn’t jump around when this nice woman is holding a sharp pair of scissors. If you move she could slip and slice your jugular man, on accident. There is no way to stitch the jugular. All of your blood will be on the floor in four minutes. I have seen this. I have done this. You don’t want this.
[kid bursts into a flood of tears, Zohan nerve pinches him and the kid slumps unconscious in his seat]
Zohan: Well then, at least it is good time to shave his neck…

Gail: Usually he’s harder than trigonometry.

Michael: What are you? Bionic?
Zohan: No, I only like the ladies.

Michael: Well, tonight’s our night for the Community Nightwatch.
Zohan: The Communism tight crotch? What?

Dalia: Zohan! He has a bomb… and puppies!
Zohan: No!
James: Imma blow up this whole block, Imma blow you up, Imma blow up these puppies! And we all gone’ go to hell together, cause I hate these puppies!

The Phantom: Okay, okay, okay! What you want, huh?
Salim: I want muchentuchen restaurant chain.
The Phantom: No.
Salim: But if I tell, you no have chain anyway.
The Phantom: So, you not give any incentive.
Salim: Okay. I want 50 percent of muchentuchen chain. We call it “Phantom & Salim Muchentuchen”.
The Phantom: No.
Salim: Twenty-five percent.
The Phantom: No.
Salim: I want yogurt shop attached to store, like food court.
The Phantom: Okay.
Salim: I get profits from store.
The Phantom: No.
Salim: Some profits.
The Phantom: No.
Salim: I get free yogurt when I come to store.
The Phantom: Okay. Within reason.
Salim: And… I want some of your wives.
The Phantom: How many wives you want?
Salim: Twenty.
The Phantom: No.
Salim: I sleep with one wife.
The Phantom: No.
Salim: She give one pee-pee touch.
The Phantom: Okay.


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