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Thrusting With Scissors: And other stylin' tricks gleaned from the Zohan 

Sandler stars in Teen Wolf IIWho knew that cutting hair could be so gross? Or that co-authors Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow (seemingly in a

click to enlarge Sandler stars in Teen Wolf II
  • Sandler stars in Teen Wolf II
Sandler stars in Teen Wolf IIWho knew that cutting hair could be so gross? Or that co-authors Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow (seemingly in a professional freefall from triumphs such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The 40-Year-Old Virgin) could create any relationship at all between a Mossad agent and the gyrating hair stylist in New York City he morphs into? If you think the previews look bad, the movie proves downright nasty. Director Dennis Dugan (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry) delivers a movie that even made a grown guy sitting next to me cover his eyes more than once.

Sandler combines every disgusting pelvic gesture imaginable with sticky, icky hair crèmes, as he pours, squirts, and spurts various liquids on the manes of middle-to-older aged women in a hair salon. And unfortunately those aren't the only things spurting in this film. For some reason, he then feels compelled to escort these by now willingly wanton women, fairly panting into the back room in order to facilitate their youthful imaginings. Uck. Whatever happened to just bestowing an exaggerated compliment, like "Boy Mrs. Wilson, you look at least thirty years younger with those new gold highlights and spikes?"


The story begins in Israel, where Sandler plays Zohan, a top Mossad agent who's able to perform super-human feats while preventing terrorist attacks. Despite his reputation as a vicious fighter, Zohan is weary of violence and has long harbored an obsessive desire to cut and style hair in NYC. When he breaks this shocking news to his otherwise proud parents, his mother advises him to "play it safe" by keeping his counterterrorism job. That's actually a funny line. But Zohan lusts after what he considers hot new hairstyles, secretly cradling, and constantly leafing through, a 20-year-old, completely out-of-date Paul Mitchell hairstyle book in his arms at night. He fakes his own death, at the hands of "The Phantom" (humorously rendered by a madcap John Turturro), so that he can disappear. He then re-emerges on a New York street that resembles a mini-Middle East: Jewish on one side and Palestinian on the other. We realize, of course, that this is a set-up to showcase more of Zohan's outrageous skills, as he employs his improbable expertise in an effort to calm aggressions on both sides. To give the movie a little credit, it does handle an age-old conflict with a kind of absurd hilarity, while pointing out the circular nature of unnecessary violence. Besides, none of these characters is truly the bad guy. Cleverness, however, is not a virtue showcased in this film, and I found myself waiting impatiently for the next funny line between inane antics.

Lainie Kazan, whom you might identify as the mother from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, has come a long way (down) since that film. Her role here as Gail-another mom-renders her barely recognizable; she replaces humor with vulgarity. Fortunately on the opposite end of the likeability spectrum there is Dalia, Zohan's love interest, engagingly performed by Emmanuelle Chriqui. Also implausible is the possibility of attraction between the lovely, competent Dalia and mostly repugnant Zohan (who we are forced to watch constantly patting his overly endowed parts).

Although Adam Sandler sinks to new depths in this role, he still makes the audience laugh between groans, and if you're a huge Sandler fan, you might be able to stomach the film's excessively repellant segments. My advice: don't mess with this film. Who knew that cutting hair could be so gross? Or that co-authors Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow (seemingly in a professional freefall from triumphs such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The 40-Year-Old Virgin) could create any relationship at all between a Mossad agent and the gyrating hair stylist in New York City he morphs into? If you think the previews look bad, the movie proves downright nasty. Director Dennis Dugan (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry) delivers a movie that even made a grown guy sitting next to me cover his eyes more than once.

Sandler combines every disgusting pelvic gesture imaginable with sticky, icky hair crèmes, as he pours, squirts, and spurts various liquids on the manes of middle-to-older aged women in a hair salon. And unfortunately those aren't the only things spurting in this film. For some reason, he then feels compelled to escort these by now willingly wanton women, fairly panting into the back room in order to facilitate their youthful imaginings. Uck. Whatever happened to just bestowing an exaggerated compliment, like "Boy Mrs. Wilson, you look at least thirty years younger with those new gold highlights and spikes?"

The story begins in Israel, where Sandler plays Zohan, a top Mossad agent who's able to perform super-human feats while preventing terrorist attacks. Despite his reputation as a vicious fighter, Zohan is weary of violence and has long harbored an obsessive desire to cut and style hair in NYC. When he breaks this shocking news to his otherwise proud parents, his mother advises him to "play it safe" by keeping his counterterrorism job. That's actually a funny line. But Zohan lusts after what he considers hot new hairstyles, secretly cradling, and constantly leafing through, a 20-year-old, completely out-of-date Paul Mitchell hairstyle book in his arms at night. He fakes his own death, at the hands of "The Phantom" (humorously rendered by a madcap John Turturro), so that he can disappear. He then re-emerges on a New York street that resembles a mini-Middle East: Jewish on one side and Palestinian on the other. We realize, of course, that this is a set-up to showcase more of Zohan's outrageous skills, as he employs his improbable expertise in an effort to calm aggressions on both sides. To give the movie a little credit, it does handle an age-old conflict with a kind of absurd hilarity, while pointing out the circular nature of unnecessary violence. Besides, none of these characters is truly the bad guy. Cleverness, however, is not a virtue showcased in this film, and I found myself waiting impatiently for the next funny line between inane antics.

Lainie Kazan, whom you might identify as the mother from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, has come a long way (down) since that film. Her role here as Gail-another mom-renders her barely recognizable; she replaces humor with vulgarity. Fortunately on the opposite end of the likeability spectrum there is Dalia, Zohan's love interest, engagingly performed by Emmanuelle Chriqui. Also implausible is the possibility of attraction between the lovely, competent Dalia and mostly repugnant Zohan (who we are forced to watch constantly patting his overly endowed parts).

Although Adam Sandler sinks to new depths in this role, he still makes the audience laugh between groans, and if you're a huge Sandler fan, you might be able to stomach the film's excessively repellant segments. My advice: don't mess with this film.

You Don't Mess With the Zohan ★★✩✩✩
Starring: Adam Sandler, Emmanuelle Chriqui and John Turturro.
Directed by Dennis Dugan. 

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