Don’t mess with the Zohan contains a lot of firsts for Adam Sandler. It contains more CGI than T2 and more wire work than most martial arts films. It also has an element that is a definite ‘first’ for an Adam Sandler film, at least for 15 years; care. Zohan is the first Sandler film since Happy Gilmore where I felt he didn’t simply adopt a dumb voice and phone it in.
That doesn’t mean for a second that this is a great film – far from it – but the man puts effort into this one for the most part and doesn’t coast on a lazy premise and numerous bit parts for his less talented acting friends.
Zohan is a loyal soldier tired of war and killing, which is difficult as they happen to be two of his specialties. Fortunately though Zohan does everything well, so I won’t bother listing the things, I’ll simply restate everything. He is insanely comfortable in his own skin and beloved by all he encounters – even a random pelican takes the time to high five him.
To recap; good at everything. Tired of war.
I might also add that he likes hummus…
So Zohan feigns his own death and heads to America to pursue his dream of being a hairdresser. Naming himself Scrappy Coco after his two dogs, Zohan deflects attention by claiming he is Australian and swiftly finds his niche by providing horny middle aged and older women ‘extra service’ after the haircut.
This is all supposedly hilarious and actually does provide some chuckles, albeit guilty ones.
The usual problems arise with women, big business and spectres from the past re-emerging to cause problems – in this case a renowned terrorist known as The Phantom (John Turturro) who has enhanced his reputation by claiming to have killed Zohan and is determined to finish his job.
And ultimately all seems destined to come to a head at the big hackey-sack tournament.
Don’t mess with the Zohan at least strives to entertain, though it falls victim to the usual Sandler traits of casting the same half dozen doofuses in supporting roles and calling in a few big name cameos (Kevin James is introduced as a ‘celebrity judge’? – He has to check his imdb page to see most of the films that he has been in!). But at least Sandler and Turturro put their back into it, and the early scenes where the wage a two man gravity and logic defying war are the strongest in the film by far.
This results in another first, the first Sandler comedy film in over a decade that he wouldn’t allow me to instantly hate.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. Zohan remains mostly terrible, but no more terrible than most other so-called Hollywood made ‘comedies’ in recent memory.
Let’s call it tolerably terrible.