You Don’t Mess with the Zohan

.... I got nothing.

…. I got nothing.

Hello, Spongey here.

Yes, I know I teased X-Men 2. That one is next, I just had a hard time with it so I’m doing this one first. Anyway….Adam Sandler has a new coming out. That means it’s time to tackle one of his films again.

We have a quite a few left to discuss, and this one is….interesting. Mostly in how no one knows how to feel about it. We know it’s bad, but HOW bad is it? Why is it bad? No one knows, but I’m here to find out.

With a 37 on RT, it got weak reviews, yet it also has a few fans as well as people damning it as the worst thing ever. Film Brain watched it as a BMB candidate, but he said reviewing it would require understanding it.

That’s why I wasn’t sure about reviewing this one, but i’ll try. Dennis Dugan directs this one, and the writers are Sandler, Robert Smiegel, and ….Judd Apatow. Don’t worry, he only worked on an early draft and left the project later which means none of his stuff is in it.

Thank god, because I didn’t want Judd to be ruined before Craig Moss got him.

There’s only one other thing to say: It was based on the true story of Nezi Arbib, an Israeli soldier who after his service moved to southern California and opened a hair salon. Sandler worked with Nezi himself as research.

….What can I say to that? Let’s just do this.

This, is You Don’t Mess with the Zohan

The movie opens in what I assume is Isreal, as we meet the titular Zohan, played by Adam Sandler. We see him on the beach as he shows his skills. He’s pretty much a superhuman as he defeats a bull in tug of war and-

“You don’t mess with the zohan!”

CINEMA SNS NARRATOR: Roll credits!

After that, we see him catch a fish with his ass. Lovely. Some army dudes show up, hopefully to arrest him for crimes against humanity. Actually, they take him to their base as they need him to help stop a terrorist called The Phantom. There are 2 things to mention right off the bat.

1. The movie is done in that orange and teal thing. Only here’s it’s even more obnxious than usual. I think it’s to give this film a sense of style, as it also has a lot of weird music and fight scenes….but the script is as aimless as usual. It doesn’t work.

2. Adam Sandler has a bad accent. It’s not as bad as The Waterboy but it’s still bad.

After a meeting with the army dudes, we cut to that night as Zohan has dinner with his parents. He tells hem he wants to leave this army thing and start a new life. He wants to move to America and become a hairdresser.

Yeah, this is not Sandler’s worst, nor bed premise. It’s just dumb, but it could work if it the jokes weren’t so….Sandler. His parents laugh at his dream (great parents, dude) and he cries himself to asleep later.

…Then with a Bambi cut, we see Zohan going into a building and beating up some badass. It’s a fairly decent fight scene with ….creative action to say the least. Too bad it’s one of the best parts of the movie, which is a comedy.

He bumps into the Phantom, played by John Tuturo and we get a chase. They meet face to face again, they argue and Zohan shoves a piranha into his pants.

Yes.

Then they play ping pong and Zohan explodes. This movie is weird. Phantom declares that he killed Zohan but we see that he faked his death so he can go to America. He does so and quickly heads there without being seen. Next, we see him in a taxi and the taxi driver is played by Chris Rock.

I can’t say anything to most of this stuff.

Zohan goes to a giant hair cut place, asks to meet the manager, and gives us his fake name:

“Scrappy Coco”

….I won’t make any jokes about how fitting that name is.

Zohan is mocked for his haircut and he leaves. He takes a walk and see a douche harresing Nick Swardsen. Who is in the wrong here?

Zohan kicks his ass, using the “feet upercut” gag you saw in the trailers. After that, Zoahn thinks he sees this bad guy from an earlier scene he flees to Nick Swarden’s house for dinner. He lives with his mom, which should not shock you.

Nick’s Mom allows Zoahn to stay with them for awhile. The situation in which this happens is so contrived, but in Sandler-land, it’s acceptable.

That night, Nick catches Zohan screwing his Mom.

“Couldn’t you wait until I was asleep…or dead?!”

Okay, that was funny.

They argue, and they settle it to and go to a club. Christ, does this movie have a plot at all?! While there, he a meets a guy who knows he is the Zohan, but he won’t tell anyone. After more shitty banter, we cut to the next day as Zohan gets a job at a haircut place It doesn’t go well so he goes to a kids hair cut place.

He sees a kid whining about not wanting a haircut, so tells him to calm down and stop moving or the hair cut lady may accidentally cut him by accident.

He cries and Zohan knocks him out by pinching him.

Fuck this scene.

Zohan gives up and gets a job at a Tech store owned by that guy from the club., The store is called “Going out of business” because it helps business. Eh, that’s kind of amusing.

The guy says Zohan shouldn’t get the job as being a hair cut guy is his dream and this is a dream killer or something. After that, he tells him that Phantom is becoming uber popular thinks to “killing” zohan. Phantom’s ad here is kind of funny, actually.

Then they ignore it and Zohan heads out to achieve his dream with new found confidence. This movie doesn’t care.

Zohan moves on to another hair cut place The lady/obvious love interest is reluctant at first, but she lets hm have a test run without pay. We get a montage of Zohan doing crazy impressive work as an assistant which goes on for way too long. After more pointless crap, someone at the salon quints and of course Zohan wants to replace them. After some bickering, some old lady asks for Zohan to do her hair because she’s into it. One of the bits I skipped had Zohan hitting on an older lady and she liked it.

This movie is not normal.

He works his magic on her in a very…sexual routine. This impresses the boss lady so much that she lets Zohan take over for the chick who quit, for the rest of the day. After each haircut, he goes in the back and screws that customer. And everyone is perfectly okay with it, especially the ladies.

And we get what can only be called the haircut fucking montage. I think the problem with this movie is that it’s so …odd that you have nothing to say about each thing that happens. All the other Sandler movies, for bettor or worse give me something to bitch about!

Granted, each event is dumb and unfunny but it gives me nothing to snark about. It’s just…..weird. And the montage is playing as I type this spiel. I am not missing anything as I saw it once, and that was enough.

Then we get a scene with two ladies heading to the hair place in a cab, as they argue with “No fucks given here” Arab cab driver, played by Rob Schneider. His bits are fairly amusing.

Some of the better jokes come from Rob Schneider in brown face. What.

They arrive but Rob recognizes Zohan because he once beat him up badly and stole his goat. This movie loves torturing unfunny Sandler goons, doesn’t it?

Rob calls up two of his buddies, as they play to capture Zohan and turn him in.

“Don’t make this about yourself”

“It is about me. And about him. And about my goat!”

Okay, that was funny.

Zohan takes a walk with the hot boss lady and now it’s obvious she is the bland/fun love interest. She tells him she moved here to get away from the hate on both sdes.

“You have the hardcores on both sides….it has to stop”

Sandler, it’s not good to preach equality on a film that relies on racial humor. BAD racial humor, at that. Also, she gives him this drink that he loves, and he pretends he hasn’t had it. She lets him have a sip and he drinks the whole thing in 2 seconds.

“Eh, it’s not for me”

Okay, that was funny.

Later, business is still booming at the salon.

“I feel like Hugh Hefner”

Stop, I just got done with Hugh’s shit.

One of Rob’s goons comes in to try to get some info out of Zohan. But things go slow and it never becomes his turn. The main reason is that he got limp while screwing one chick and he lost his mojo. I don’t get it either.

Later at home, he tells Nick’s Mom about his problem. She points out it has been happening since he talked with the boss lady. I’ll call her that as I don’t care. She thinks Sandler loves here even though he’s know her for a few days and had only had one talk with her.

Then they just move on to playing a hackysack with a cat cuz Animal Cruelty=COMEDY

The next day, Zohan has a moment with the lady and he gets a boner. Cuz of this, he realizes he lovers her. Then we abruplty cut the later when Rob and his goons fail to bomb Zohan. Earlier, they went to a store to get Liquid Nitrogen but they pronounced it oddly (CUZ THEY AREN’T AMERICAN GET IT) and got some other stuff instead.

“It didn’t explode, it went mush”

“Just go with it/’

Wrong bad Sandler movie.

That night, Zohan joins the neighbor night watch for no reason and he right away he sees some robbers and he kicks their asses. It turns out these guys were went by some corporate dudes that want to tear down the salon and turn it into a mall. We then talking to the boss lady earlier but it didn’t matter until now.

We find this out cuz we cut to them.

“My aunt goes there. She says besides the sex, the guy gives a pretty good haircut”

Eh, that was kind of funny.

Also, generic cooperate guys are generic..

After that bit of stupidity, Rob calls up The Phantom and tells him about Zohan. Rob gets a yogurt store in one of Phantom’s restaurant in exchange for not telling everyone about Zohan being alive.

Yeah. I really wish I more to say but for some reason, I don’t care. I’m skipping a lot of weird pointless crap and yet I still feel like I’m talking about filler!

The next day, Zohan hears the Phantom is coming to America to stop Zoahn. Wait, if that is mentioned in a newspaper, than the people will hear about Zohan being alive which kind of makes Rob’s deal pointless.

With that, we get a montage of Phantom training….which uses the rocky music and even has Mickey stand in. Okay then.

After that, Zohan tells Nick and his Mom the truth. They don’t care, but Mom suggests telling boss lady the truth as well. He does so and she is not happy because he is pretty much a counter terrorist. He says he’s giving it up but she still says it can’t be. There’s more details but it still seems like she’s doing this so we have the 3rd act break u7p. They do the whole sad which doesn’t work when the romance has the depth of sandpaper.

While boss lady was kind of cool to an extent, the romance comes out of nowhere and there’s no hint of irony in any of it. With that covered, Zohan goes to a big hackey sack tournament, because comedy. Before the game starts, Mirah Cary sings the national anthem. Yes, she is important to the “plot”.

After that, The Phantom sees her backstage and Zohan pops up to fight him. Weird place to have the fight but okay. But they are interrupted by a cal from Nick. By the way there’s was a joke where Phantom asks Cary to add him as a friend on Myspace. Even in 2008, that was dated!

Nick says he saw some bad guys trashing the salon (cuz that worked out so well last time) and Zohan goes there to take care of it. He and Phantom get there to see a bunch of Israelis, and whatever nationality Phantom is, arguing and trashing places. There was way more of the whole race fighting stuff besides the stuff I mentioned but a lot of it was dumb.

Phantom somehow gets trapped in a burning building, but Zohan takes out the fire.

“Why you help me?”

“Because I’m through with this. No more fight”

Phantom punches him by Zohan refuses to fight back.

Hot Boss Lady shows up and she’s actually Phantom’s sister. Oh, now that bit from earlier makes sense except it doesn’t. She admit she loves Zohan because the plot says so, and Phantom is not happy.

“We’re the same. We’re just people trying to get jobs…..we are thousands of miles away from all this hate, and we live together just fine.”

They talk it out and they say that people mistake both races for each other and blah blah blah. Also, Zohan apologies for stealing Rob’s goat. I’m glad that pointless subplot was resolved. Everyone hugs it out until they somehow find out that the cooperate dude has been trying to turn them against each other through ways I won’t go over. For such a simple plot, I just don’t want to go over these pointless complex parts.

The point is, the cooperate douche whose name I forget is the real enemy and the two races have to team up to stop him. Phantom talks to Zohan and admits he has his own dreams like Zohan did. Then they head off to stop these goons sent by the bad guy.

So wait, that whole bit back together….is this movie really trying to preach equality? Huh? A movie that relies on shitty stereotypes for it’s humor and has had as much substance as my farts?

It doesn’t work, to say the least. Okay message, wrong movie. Also, I remember reading an interview with one of the writers (On AV Club, of all places) saying he doesn’t like it when certain comedies get all sad or deep for no reason, citing a bit from Dumb and Dumber (or something, I haven’t seen that film) as an example.

HYPO-FUCKING-CRITE.

(He wasn’t even arguing his movie does it differently. I think he just implied it didn’t have moments like that)

They kick some ass and some random dude shows up with a bomb and puppies. To stop him, Phantom and Zohan ….sing a weird song in harmony and he is sent flying into some buiding where he meets a fat chick and George Takei.

Cheese. It’s as good as any other comment.

The cooperate guy shows up to see all his plans crumble with the defeat of his goons. The cops show up to arrest him cuz the guys told some reporters about him. He was a very pointless villain. Even Phantom was enjoyable sometimes.

We cut to later as Zohan and Boss lady, whose name I still forget get a new salon that is big and profitable. Also, his parents show up and they are proud of their son. Glad that pointless…..thing that happened, was resolved.

….Roll credits. Wait, what? That’s the end? I mean, we see that Eletricon store guy is happy cuz his store is better, Rob is happy cuz he owns a new goat, and Nick works at the salon. But it still feels so abrupt!

I skipped stuff, if only to get this done quicker, but I went over all the important crap. Keep in mind, this movie is well over 100 minutes, making it one Sandler’s longer flicks. Yet it ends so abruptly and has so little substance and and….whatever. I swear it’s slightly less abrupt when you watch it but it’s still just…..bah.

Final Thoughts:

Film Brain hit the nail on the head on this one. Reviewing this film requires understanding it, and I sure as hell don’t understand it. I mean, it’s so weirdly….watchable? I guess?

Stylistically, it’s very….unique. It has an odd sense of humor, like that of a weird satire, and less of a Sandler film. It has bits that are somewhat paradoic to an extent, yet it doesn’t really say anything except that fighting is bad, guys.

The story is fairly simple and yet it still manages to be kind of of counsing, and worst of all cliché. I feel that the whole “giving up current life for his dream” thing was meant to be a spoof of that cliché but it feels like it’s being played straight.

And because this film has the depth of a cup of water, it doesn’t work. The romance is incredibly forced and makes no sense. Every attempt to get us invested fails in every way. It can’t be for satire as it takes itself seriously in those moments. Yet the rest of the film feels like an absurd spoof.

All the characters are useless too. Only Zohan really gets anything to do, while everyone else is either bland of pointless. Nick existed to cringe at Zohan putting the love on his Mom, Mom existed for more lame jokes and advice, Rob existed to fuel the fighting and while the boss lady was kind of cool in small bits, she existed to be a love interest. Phantom was just a dumb villain but at least he had something to do!

Everyone felt pointless in the end and they just get lame joke after lame joke. There’s only so much of Sandler banging old ladies I can take. That aspect felt pointless too, by the way. Zohan himself is just kind bland and sue-ish yet he’s the closets to an actual character this movie has.

I don’t know. I just feel so weird critiquing this one. It’s clearly not meant to be taken serious….yet it also non -ironic serious moments! I just don’t….get this one. At all.

In a way, it’s strangely watchable. The style and humor is just so….weird. While it should be the most annoying film ever made but somehow I kind of got into it’s humor after awhile. It’s just….weird.

Also, the acting is just okay. Even Rob isn’t too bad here even though he has a bad accent. No one is all that bad beyond their accents, but they are often bad. Tutoro is probably the best because, you know, he actually has talent. Also, his villain antics can often be amusing. Too bad he’s not in it much.

Sandler puts on a bad accent in this one, but it works better than his other “Silly voice” roles. He feels more like a character in this one and as a result, he isn’t that bad, honestly.

But overall ,this movie is weird. It’s almost a guilty pleasure due to how…odd it is. But it is dragged own by lame writing, and how the leaky premise wears thin after awhile. It’s …weird.

But I’ll give it this: It’s actually DIFFERENT and not just the same crap Sandler puts out. It’s DIFFERENT crap! So it’s not one of his worst films, but it’s not even close to one of his best.

Grade: C-

Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever given that grade until now. This was a really hard review to do, so I’m sorry I had nothing to say about this….thing. Next time, I take on X2, for real this time.

See ya.

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About Spongey444

I'm 20 and I'm a slightly below average man who can barely spell. I mostly spend my time watching TV and movies, hence why i ended doing a blog all about those things. I tend to have weird tastes, but I like think I'm just fair on things.
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