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PCR #428 (Vol. 9, No. 23) This edition is for the week of June 2--8, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"You Don't Mess With the Zohan"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Starring: Adam Sandler, Lanie Kazan and John Turturro
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 48 mins

Years ago on “The A-Team,” the late, great George Peppard, as team leader Hannibal Smith, used to kick back at the end of the show, light a cigar and proclaim, “I love it when a plan comes together.” The plan for “You Don’t Mess With The Zohan” looked great. Major funny guy in the lead. Lots of funny pal cameos. Decent director. And co-written by two of the funniest guys in Hollywood. So what happened? All I can say is that somewhere up in heaven, Hannibal Smith isn’t happy.

Zohan (Sandler) is the top Mosaad anti-terrorist agent in Israel. When he’s not putting hummus on everything he eats, he struts along the beach, getting looks from the ladies and high fives from the guys. While on vacation he is called in to help capture a Palestinian bad guy known as the Phantom (Turturro). Though he’s happy to work for his country, Zohan has a secret wish…to become a hairdresser. His parents laugh at the idea and he dares not tell his fellow agents. After a showdown with the Phantom, Zohan disappears and is declared dead. He resurfaces in New York City with nothing but a pair of tight pants and a dream. Some have made it further with less.

When I watched “Zohan,” I felt like I was watching two different films…both of them not very good. It looks like director Dugan (“Saving Silverman,” “Billy Madison) was so busy making the action scenes look good he forgot the rest of the film. The set-ups are pretty unimaginable, as are the various locations. The same goes for the writing. Co-writers Judd Apatow (“40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up”) and Robert Smigel (many of the short cartoons featured on “Saturday Night Live”) are two funny guys who seem to have been on auto pilot here. While some of the bits are funny, they aren’t FUNNY. And the script goes out of its way several times to get in a dig at Mel Gibson, apparently still being remembered for his anti-Semitic outburst from last year.

The typical gang of Sandler buds do show up in occasional roles, among them Chris Rock, Nick Swardslow, Henry Winkler…even the late Chris Farley’s brother, John, makes an appearance. Sandler is his usual self, but I will give him credit for working out so that his character looks good when he’s cutting hair, usually shirtless, which really can’t be sanitary.

Take it from me when I say you can’t spell “mess” without “You Don’t Mess With The Zohan.” On a scale of zero to four stars, I give “You Don’t Mess With The Zohan”

This week's movie review of "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.