You Don't Mess With The Zohan (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner14/08/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 113 mins

Amusing Adam Sandler comedy with a bonkers premise, a surprisingly likeable central character and a handful of decent gags.

What's it all about?
Adam Sandler stars as Zohan, an Israeli counter-terrorism agent, famed for his near-superhuman exploits and fighting skills. However, what he really wants to do is become a hairdresser in New York, so he fakes his death during a battle with his nemesis, The Phantom (John Turturro), and emigrates to the Big Apple.

Re-inventing himself as Scrappy Coco, Zohan lands a job in a neighbourhood salon, run by a Palestinian woman (Emmanuelle Chriqui). However, when an Arab cab driver (Rob Schneider) recognises him, it's only a matter of time before Zohan's past catches up with him.

The Good
This is an unusual departure for an Adam Sandler movie – for one thing, the character he plays isn't completely obnoxious for once; in fact, Zohan is probably the most sensitive character Sandler's ever played. The supporting cast are also well drawn and the film benefits from the fact that everyone plays it straight, instead of mugging or going for overblown comedy reactions.

The fighting scenes are extremely well done and provide a couple of good laughs. As for the jokes, your enjoyment of the film will largely depend on how funny you find Sandler's brand of humour, but there are a couple of great running gags (different uses for hummus, Zohan's unorthodox relationship with his elderly female clients) and the script even manages to comment on the Israeli-Palestine situation without completely embarrassing itself.

The Bad
In addition, the film boasts an unusual collection of celebrity cameos (John McEnroe, Mariah Carey, Henry Winkler) and manages to get actual laughs out of them, unlike, say, the cameos in The Love Guru. That said, it's fair to say that not all the gags work and the film is at least fifteen minutes too long.

Worth seeing?
You Don't Mess With The Zohan is definitely worth seeing if you're an Adam Sandler fan, but it's unlikely to win over the unconverted. Still, as Sandler's films go, this is up there with the best of them.

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You Don't Mess With The Zohan (12A)
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Content updated: 18/10/2017 23:14

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