You Don’t Mess With the Zohan

Adam Sandler is getting a little old for this type of film. I liked BILLY MADISON and HAPPY GILMORE, but that was almost 15 years ago. I just can’t take him running around like an idiot when he’s well into his 40’s. We all have to grow up sometime and I think it’s time Sandler moves on. Otherwise, who knows how many more travesties like YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN we’re going to have to suffer through?

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After this was over, I made the statement that this was Sandler’s worst film. But I was reminded that he’s made a lot of bad films over the years, so I had to pause to consider the competition. Even though I haven’t liked a lot of his movies, I stand by my initial feeling that this is the worst film Sandler has ever appeared in. It’s a slapstick comedy and I don’t think I managed a chuckle even once. We get it; Sandler talks with an accent and is near super-human with his abilities but all he wants to do is cut old ladies’ hair. That’s a punch line of a joke you would tell at the office water cooler, not the basis for a major Hollywood film. Unfortunately, no one told Sandler this and for over 90 minutes, he tries to make us laugh with the same joke every 30 seconds.

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Someone (I’m looking at you Judd Apatow) should have reigned Sandler in and suggested a rewrite of the script or demand that the project be scrapped all together. Nothing about this film worked, whether it be Zohan’s journey from Israel to New York, his interactions with Americans or his conflict with a rival spy (Turturro). Which, by the way, I’m being hard on Sandler because he’s a comedian, starring a in a very unfunny comedy. However, what about the appearance of Mr. Turturro in another Sandler film? He’s one of the most talented actors working today and has reduced himself to being Sandler’s punching bag.

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One way to really get a grasp on this film is to liken it to a really bad Saturday Night Live movie. Lorne Michaels has a knack for taking a 2 minute clip and turning it into a 2 hour film. All the while, audiences are bored for 1 hour and 58 minutes. The same thing went on here. It was clear from the beginning that they didn’t have enough material for a film. The entire third act felt like it was Sandler and Turturro standing around improv-ing while they filled in the time. There was no direction and if I hadn’t read it myself, I would have sworn the script ended at the 60 minute mark.

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I can appreciate the toilet humor Sandler movies that are targeted to the adolescent boy crowd. I used to be an adolescent boy and Sandler’s films were some of my favorites. I’ve even enjoyed some of his recent stuff, but Sandler can’t keep doing these kind of movies. This is the equivalent of Jim Carrey going back and doing a third Ace Ventura film. He’s moved on, so should Sandler.


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