You Don’t Mess With the Zohan (2008)

Rated R. Our ratings: V- 2; L-1; S/N -4. Running time: 1 hour 53 min.

If it is possible, so far as it depends on you,
live peaceably with all.
Romans 12:18

America is an entirely new world for Zoha,

2008 Sony Pictures Releasing

This is Adam Sandler at his most vulgar, and occasionally, his funniest, and so the film is defintely not for church groups. About a half hour into the film the woman sitting ahead of me got up, obviously disgusted, and walked out, never to return. I was wanting to follow her (her example, that is), but decided to stay with the film, as I remembered that another one that I thought pretty inane, Rat Race, was redeemed by the last scene. It turned out that this one was similar, with a curious scene of the hero refusing to fight an enemy, but turning the other cheek instead.

Zohan (Sandler) is a super hero Israeli agent lionized by the public for his daring do (lots of crazy, impossible stunts that lampoon popular super hero movies!). Unhappy in his work, he just wants to go to America and live out his dream of becoming a hair dresser (his distrressed parents can scarcely believe their ears when he tells them). Staging his death in a fight against his nemesis, the Phantom (John Turturro), Zohan travels to New York City in pursuit of his dream. After a number of mishaps at various salons where he seeks to be taken on, he manages to talk the Palestinian beauty Dalia (Emmanuelle Chriqui) into working at her establishment. First he is allowed only to sweep up, but it is not long before he is styling the hair of a series of old ladies, flattering them and taking each one into the storage room and servicing a more stimulating part of the body than the head. So much for family values.

The neighborhood around the salon is a microcosm of the Middle East, except that Arabs, Jews, and Palestinians have managed to leave their past behind and live side by side. The threat to all turns out to be an American, a shady developer who wants to drive everyone away so that he can buy up the property and build a large mall. The Phantom, of course, comes to New York eager to do battle, and this is when Zohan decides enough is enough, refusing to fight back against his old adversary. However this tense moment of peace and reconciliation is soon swallowed up when the developer sends some bigoted thugs to rough up and intimidate the shop owners. The conclusion that sees all factions united in repelling the goons and their boss is pretty far fetched, but satisfying. I am glad I did not walk out, but I would not recommend this to anyone at my church.