June 6, 2008, - 3:19 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
A year ago, one of my readers told me about “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan,” Adam Sandler’s movie, in theaters today. In it, Sandler is “Zohan,” an Israeli Mossad agent who fakes his death to realize his dream of becoming a hairdresser in New York.
I figured it would be yet another peacenik, moral equivalency movie–as all movies emanating out of liberal LaLaLand always are. And that’s exactly what it turned out to be. That, coupled with anti-Israel, anti-Semitic stereotypes, and bad, vulgar, disgusting jokes.
But along the way, while remaining skeptical, I fell for the usual tricks: misleading, carefully edited Sandler movie trailers that include the only good jokes in the movie, Sandler’s donation of 400 video games to Israeli victims of Hezbollah bombings, and his contributions to the Presidential candidate who best understood the Islamic terrorism threat to America, Rudolph Giuliani.
While I gushed over the hype and the funny trailer and was looking forward to it, I forgot the oft-told parable about the turtle and the scorpion:
A scorpion finds himself in the middle of a lake, when he realizes he can’t swim and begins to drown. A turtle passes by and the scorpion begs the turtle to allow him to ride on his back until they both reach shore. “But you will bite me, and we will both drown,” says the turtle. “No,” the scorpion assures him, “I won’t because I want to live and if I bite you, we will both drown.”
The turtle buys his story and allows the scorpion aboard. But when they come close to shore, the scorpion bites the turtle and he begins to die. “Why did you bite me, when I’ve saved your life?” asks the turtle. “Because I’m a scorpion. That’s my nature.”
The story’s usually told to describe Jews and Israelis who believe they’ll finally get peace by trusting and giving the store away to Palestinians. But it’s also a good parable for me, regarding my hope that this very bad movie–which Bin Laden and Nasrallah couldn’t have made more to their liking–would finally be the exciting movie that makes fun of Islamic terrorists and shows Jews and Israelis in a positive light, rather than as weak, venal oppressors of primitive peoples.
In that hope, I was the turtle. I expected Sandler–who is, after all, just another fixture of Hollywood and puts out more than his own fair share of its garbage–to act contrary to Hollywood’s and his nature.
“You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” is hardly contrary. It’s a disgusting display of the same old, same old. And it’s stupid. In fact, it’s one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long time. I took a pro-Israel Arab friend of mine who did undercover work against terrorists to see it, and he said it was the worst movie he’d ever seen in his life. He put his head in his hands for most of the movie and wanted to leave. I did, too.
Zohan is tired of fighting terrorists. “When will it end?” he asks. Sadly, that’s the same attitude and professed sentiment of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is using it as an excuse to negotiate away Israel’s national security. Tragically, it is only Mossad agent Zohan–not Olmert–who fakes his death, in a fight against Arab terrorist, “The Phantom,” and moves to New York.
The Phantom is both Hezbollah and Palestinian in this movie (his sister is Palestinian and yet he maintains the “Hezbollah Terrorist Hotline”), which gets even the most obvious details wrong. Why worry about accuracy on the basics, when you’re so busy making the “dick jokes” (which just aren’t funny) and making fun of the Jews?
So while Phantom is hailed throughout the Lebanese or Palestinian world (we’re not sure which) and owns a chain of MuchenTuchen fast food restaurants (this is funny? Arab restaurants with German sounding gibberish names? Believe me, it sounds funnier here than it is in the movie), Sandler/Zohan is busy trying to get a job at Paul Mitchell and other salons in New York.
But, of course, the only one who will hire him is–shocker!–the friendly, generous Palestinian woman salon owner, played by peacenik Moroccan Jew Emanuelle Chriqui (who calls her Israeli relatives and being pro-Israel, very “negative”). Oh, and–another shocker!–they fall in love. This is after Sandler has sex with about 100 grannies whose hair he’s cut.
Meanwhile a [insert Palestinian or Lebanese here] cab driver recognizes Zohan and informs the Phantom via the Hezbollah Hotline. They plan to capture Zohan and kill him. But in the end, it’s all Rodney King “can’t we all just get along?” crap.
Sound entertaining to you? It isn’t. This movie’s a mess, and I’m being generous.
Instead of being funny and exploring the contradictions of Islamic terrorists who won’t make peace and would rather send their own children to their deaths, we’re given a steady supply of very graphic penis jokes (including a vulgar discussion of Sandler/Zohan’s pubic hair enhancement strategy) which aren’t funny and scenes in which Adam Sandler is having sex with old ladies. We see lots of unnecessary shots of Sandler’s (or a body double’s) naked butt, and every other comment is about “making the big bang boom.”
Yup, those randy, Israeli sex fiends. To enhance the “point,” Sandler wears a sock or some other artificial enhancement under tight bike shorts throughout the movie to make his groin region look big.
Haha, funny. You know the depraved, slutty life that Bin Laden likes to say America is living? That’s this movie. And I question how such a filthy movie–with no less nudity and frank talk than the deservedly R-rated “Sex and the City“–managed to snag a PG-13 rating.
Then, there are the running Israeli stereotypes. Throughout the movie, we’re hit over the head with Sandler’s sleazy Israeli friends who cheat people with bad merchandise at electronics stores. They all wear shirts unbottoned down to there and look like they’re just off the “Saturday Night Fever” set. The stereotype was bad enough when it was a short skit on “Saturday Night Live,” over a decade ago, when Sandler and guest host Tom Hanks used bad Israeli accents and blasphemed my religion, citing the Jewish sabbath as some reason to defraud customers. But in this movie, it’s non-stop. In fact, the whole movie is like a bad SNL skit that shouldn’t have gone on past the first minute when the joke got old.
And, yes, Israelis, like Americans, wore jean shorts when they were in style. But Sandler wears them like that’s the Israeli uniform. It ain’t. You think Israelis are cheesy dolts, Adam. We get it.
The hummus joke wasn’t funny when he brushed his teeth with it. Even less funny when he uses it as hair mousse and to put out a fire.
Oh, and by the way, the fire was set by his evil whitebread landlord who is the common enemy of the Israelis and the Muslims in this movie. Oh, now I get it–the American Muslims who repeatedly send me rape, torture, and death threats are not my real enemy. It’s corporate America and evil developers–who make my life far more civilized than the Greater Barbaria that is the Muslim world–whom I should despise.
Yes, the message in this movie is that, Muslims and Jews, Palestinians/Lebanese and Israelis all get along here in America and don’t hate each other in the least. Sad that the 10,000 Muslim Lebanese and Palestinians who marched daily–and made anti-Semitic slogans de riguer in their speeches and signage–in Dearborn, during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, didn’t get the Sandler memo.
Our real enemy is not each other, goes the Sandler didactic. It’s Whitey and corporate America. Gee, and I thought that was Michelle Obama’s enemy, not mine. Silly me.
A few celebs have cameos in this movie–Henry Winkler, Mariah Carey, and Chris Rock, to name a few. But their brief appearances are like attending an Adam Sandler PC beach party, of which this silly movie is the onscreen equivalent.
Do yourself a favor and watch the 2-minute trailers for this movie. You’ll see most of what’s funny in this movie and save yourself ten bucks.
Other than what’s in the trailer for this movie, there’s very little that made me chuckle and a lot that made me groan. An Arab terrorist training Rocky-style to fight Zohan, made me laugh. He runs up a desert sand dune to the tune of “Gonna Fly Now,” the Rocky theme song, played by the Mid-Eastern Oud instrument. Then, there was an Arab Sheik’s request that Mariah Carey sign a photo, “All I Want for Ramadan is You.”
But other than that, this movie does to Israel and the Jews what Bin Laden, Hezbollah, and HAMAS could not, in defaming them on the silver screen in wide release in theaters across America and around the world.
Israeli newspaper Ha’Aretz reported that Sandler sought to fend off Hollywood criticism of his movie as “The Israeli Movie.” Well, he succeeded in spades.
This movie is high quality Bin Laden Cinema. Allahu Shampoo & Conditioner.
Take Adam Sandler’s advice: Don’t Mess with “Zohan.” Stay home.