Comedy movies can often bring together two or more separate groups of people. This can be groups among the races, culture, and even nations that have been feuding for years. It brings these groups a chance to laugh together, a chance to perhaps look over stereotypes and realize that people aren’t so different at all. You Don’t Mess With the Zohan while not meant to be taken seriously does bring together Israelis and Arabs into one picture. A picture where they can have a good time and hopefully everybody regardless of their race or creed can laugh right along with them.
Zohan Dvir (played by Adam Sandler) is loved in his nation of Israel. He is on vacation in Tel Aviv and is the attraction of every man and woman whether he is showing his Hacky Sack poweress or his bulging biceps. However, Zohan has a very important job, he is the top Mossad agent. His vacation is cut short when Israeli helicopters arrive and whisk away Zohan back to the base.
Once back at the base, Zohan is recruited to do yet another mission for the government. His mission is to recapture the “Phantom” (played by John Turturro). Apparently he was traded for another Mossad agent and a spy to be named later. Zohan secretly has another dream though. He wants to travel to America and become a hairdresser.
His passion to cut hair and make it silky smooth becomes realized when he fakes his own death in a battle against the Phantom. Zohan smuggles himself onto a plane to America and proceeds directly to the Paul Mitchell salon. He dubs himself as Scrappy Coco but unfortunately, his attempt is unsuccessful. He does find a friend named Michael (played by Nick Swardson) and takes up residence with him and his mom, Gail (played by Lainie Kazan).
Zohan decides to go to the disco with his new friend Michael (after he bangs Michael’s mom…twice) and runs into a Zohan fan, Oori (played by Ido Mosseri) who recognizes him. However, Oori decides to keep things a secret. After unsuccessful attempts at other salons; Oori suggests to Zohan to try the struggling salon across the street. It is run by a Palestinian woman named Dalia (played by Emmanuelle Chriqui).
Once inside the salon and sweeping the floor for a few days, Zohan or rather Scrappy Coco is allowed to cut hair. A decent haircut and some back room complimentary sex later, Scrappy is a huge success. However, can Zohan continue to live his dream of cutting hair or will others recognize him for what he truly is? Furthermore, can he save the block from the impending doom of a local business tycoon named Walbridge (played by Michael Buffer) who wishes to build a mall in its place?
The idea of an Israeli spy turned hairdresser is actually an interesting idea, especially when it isn’t played seriously by the cast members. Actually, since this is a Sandler movie, most of the cast play straight men/women and the funny lines and actions are handled by Adam. The movie is silly and does have a few genuine laughs and the film benefits greatly from the amount of talent in cameos in the movie. The cameos range from Kevin Nealon to Robert Smigel to Chris Rock to even Mariah Carey and John McEnroe. Add this to great supporting roles from Michael Buffer and Rob Schneider (playing the role of Salim) and you have a fantastic cast.
The problem is that the laughs or jokes are very hit and miss. So much time seems wasted on genital jokes that it makes you wish they get over themselves and return to the plot. The story is actually fairly decent but what happens is that this movie gets trapped in one sexual joke after another about Zohan’s girth (the hair, not the length), that you forget what is going on. It ends up a very average movie with minimal laughs.
The film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The video is excellent. From exotic locales to beautiful women to even Adam 80’s inspired haircut, the look of the movie is fantastic. Great production work here even if the jokes fall flat more often than not.
The audio is provided in 5.1 English Dolby Digital and a 2.0 mix for the French speakers. Vocal clarity is surprisingly decent considering the various accents among the cast. Sure we know some of the words are the equivalent of Yiddish nonsense, but at least we can discern the nonsense clearly. Typical surround effects for explosions or fight scenes are slightly above average but nothing too spectacular here. Subtitles are provided in English and French.
- Automatic Trailers: The House Bunny, Quantum of Solace & Hancock.
- Commentary with Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel, Rob Schneider, and Nick Swardson: The first of two commentaries and considering the tone of the movie, the more interesting one. Sandler and Smigel pick up most of the chatter here and make for a rather entertaining listen.
- Commentary with director Dennis Dugan: The good director takes in a look of the technical details and how he decided to shoot the film. Another good commentary, just a little less lively as expected.
- Featurettes 66:00: A series of ten featurettes that go over everything from cameos to directing to stunts to a gag reel. There is lots of information and hilarity here.
Look Who Stopped By (9:16)
Dugan: The Hands On Director (7:13)
The Stunts of Zohan (10:11)
Dugan Espanol ? (4:46)
Zohan vs the Phantom (4:15)
Shooting Baja for Tel Aviv (6:51)
All-American Redneck (4:07)
From Guns to Scissors (9:07)
The Robot (4:11)
Laughing is Contagious (6:03)
- Deleted Scenes 13:47: Fifteen different deleted scenes for you to choose from. Most of these run under a minute and really don’t add anything to the already lengthy movie.
- Easter Egg #1 2:37: Found in the main menu with the Zohan symbol, this is a pretty good prank involving Adam’s wig.
- Easter Egg #2 3:13: Found in the special features menu with the Zohan symbol, this is a few disco moments with the cast and production crew. Dance I say, dance!
Happy Madison productions did its best to bring us a movie that above all would make us laugh. Sometimes they succeeded, sometimes they missed by quite a bit. In the end, we get an average movie with a superb disc to back it up. The video is very good with an adequate audio track. The extras are extensive with two commentaries and a slew of featurettes and deleted scenes. Honestly, anymore content and I would consider it overkill. In the end, I can’t recommend this film except to those who are used to Sandler’s antics and consistently find his films funny.