You Don’t Mess With the Zohan for all of its sexual absurdity and racial mockery is a movie that plays it safe when it doesn’t always need to. It’s a satire in need of something a little more scathing. It needs cahones of a Monty Python sketch and the willingness to offend some people to make it’s point, ala South Park or even The Simpsons, in its better years.
This flaw that makes the movie less of a masterpiece and more like the run of the mill comedies Sandler has become known for the last few years. That aside it also includes Adam Sandler’s funniest comedy creation since Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore and combines the lovability of his Wedding Singer character. Zohan is absurdity and cool mixed into a nice gleaming coated marketable package. There are moments of sheer inspired hilarity that makes you think its good to see that Sandler hasn’t forgotten his roots as other comedians turned serious actors have, like Tom Hanks or Jim Carrey. Sandler’s comic timing makes this movie tic.
Director Dennis Dugan shoots for Pink Panther style antics and hits on occasion, but the jokes don’t wizz at us from unexpected directions with the kind of pinache that Blake Edwards could muster. In fact once we catch on to the proceedings not much more happens, and after about an hour in the movie kind of fizzles, makes its point and stops being fun…or funny. And I don’t really think Dennis is much of a director to begin with, he knows how to step back and let the talents do their thing, but as far as where to put the camera…he’s getting better.
The cameo appearances are hardly clever and most fall flat, that goes for Sandler’s pal Rob Schneider, and the final fight between a wonderful John Tuturro and Sandler evokes nothing. It’s not good news when the first fight between the two is more exciting than the final.
It’s a bag of too few tricks. In the end though, even when it’s floundering it’s harmless entertainment. And that’s too bad.