You Don’t Mess with the Zohan

By Mark Ramsey | 2008/06/09

Adam Sandler can catch a hacky sack in his hacky-crack, but unless he can blow it back out with equal skill I shall remain unimpressed.

In fact, “unimpressed” can join “unhappy” as my primary reactions to You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, which is the first comedy ever to explain the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a spoonful of fish-stuck-in-somebody’s-ass.


Explains Sandler, “If you come for the piranha eating the penis but you emerge with a deeper understanding of the subtleties of International geopolitical conflict, then remember that Hezbollah rhymes with Shmezbollah.”

I never thought I could laugh at a movie that combined terrorists and the evergreen hairstylings of Bon Jovi, and it turns out I was right.

Adam is a superhuman Israeli counter-terrorist who dreams to cut hair at the Paul Mitchell salon the way salon masters at Paul Mitchell dream to counter the terror of a bad weave. He is a trained killer who wants to rid the world of Israeli’s enemies and split ends, but not necessarily in that order.

“I just want to make people silky smooth,” cried Adam in the kind of Israeli accent which suggests that Israel borders France.

“I haven’t heard this many fake accents since Madonna’s inner circle,” said Bruce Vilanch in a cameo. “And circle gets the square!” he added, flashing back to the days when he could fit within the Squares of Hollywood and actually see his own tic-tac-toes.


Hey, there’s Lainie Kazan, who has been playing ethnic moms longer than most ethnic groups have existed. “When I started in this business,” Kazan explained, “I was the mom to ethnic hunter/gatherers. Only later did I become ethnic mom to the Industrial and Information ages.”

Hey, there’s Rob Schneider, the Lorna Luft of Sandler’s comedy family!

And there’s Henry Winkler and Chris Rock and Shelley Berman and one-time Saturday Night Live player Kevin Nealon, who is best remembered barely at all, and who recently returned from a long trek to the peak of Mount Obscurity to star on a new comedy site,

And there’s Mariah Carey in one of her trademark short skirts shrink-wrapped to her hips. “She can barely walk in that, and when she does she exposes her USDA rating,” explained Sandler.

And the rating can barely walk, too.

And then there’s Dave Matthews.

Because when I think comedy, I think Dave Matthews!

Adam is a particularly popular stylist because he loves the ladies of a certain age. Said one: “I like Ike, but I love Adam!”

And who needs a trim from Sandler but Mrs. Garrett from The Facts of Life! Hey, Mrs. Garrett! “Tootie’s in the car with Mr. Drummond,” she said, “on their way to buy some leg-warmers and rent Vision Quest on VHS.”

You Don’t Mess with the Zohan is one bad hair day.


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