Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Empire's New Tom Cruise Cover
The Jameson Empire Awards 2014
Vote: The Greatest 301 Movies Of All Time!
Rebecca Hall:
My Movie Life

The actress picks the movies that shaped her
Mountain Dew Green Screen
Register Now to see X-MEN First Class!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Adam Sandler
Rob Schneider
Natasha Nov
Emmanuelle Chriqui.
Directors
Dennis Dugan.
Screenwriters
Judd Apatow
Adam Sandler.
Running Time
113 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
An Episode In The Life Of An Iron Picker
4 Star Empire Rating
Cupcakes
3 Star Empire Rating
You & Me Forever
4 Star Empire Rating
Looking For Light: Jane Brown
3 Star Empire Rating
Informant, The
2 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating
Calvary
5 Star Empire Rating
Wake In Fright
5 Star Empire Rating
Stranger By The Lake
5 Star Empire Rating
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
5 Star Empire Rating

You Don't Mess With The Zohan
The missing link between hairdressing and counter-terrorism


submit to reddit


Plot
Legendary Israeli counter-terrorist The Zohan (Sandler) fakes his own death and heads to New York to pursue his dream of styling hair. But the only job he can find there is in a Palestinian salon, and the enemies he left behind - including his fearsome nemesis The Phantom (Turturro) - are soon on his neatly groomed tail.


Review
You Don't Mess With The Zohan
Few would have pegged Steven Spielberg’s Munich as an inspiration for American comedy. And yet, following Knocked Up’s discussions on Spielberg’s portrayal of Jewish machismo - “If any of us are getting laid it’s because of Eric Bana” - Zohan transplants Munich’s character arc, charting the ennui of a MOSSAD agent, into an Adam Sandler comedy that plays the Middle East crisis for laughs.

 

The movie starts on a great lick, with Sandler’s ’80s-styled commando The Zohan on the hunt for his nemesis The Phantom (Turturro), performing physically impossible feats – catching bullets in his butt-cheeks, putting piranhas on his private parts - and flirting with Tel Aviv beauties with a nutty energy that recalls the likes of Top Secret! or Hot Shots!. Once the movie reaches New York, with The Zohan changing his name to Scrappy Coco (don’t ask) and finding work in a Palestinian hair salon, director Dugan can’t keep the strike rate constant, straining too hard with running gags about hummus, the Middle Eastern love of bargaining and our hero servicing old women in a gag stolen shamelessly from The Producers.

Yet for every dud, there is an equal amount of inspired lunacy: Sandler and his cronies playing keepy-uppy with a cat, Sandler regular Rob Schneider as a militant Palestinian taxi driver phoning a Hezbollah hotline (“For terrorist supplies, press one”). And in a moment that - shock - borders on the subtle, a Palestinian immigrant laments: “People hate us. They think we’re terrorists.” An Israeli immigrant echoes: “People hate us, too. They think we’re you.”

The last act, which sees the Israelis and Palestinians unite against a mean property developer (Michael Buffer) looking to take over the neighbourhood for nefarious ends, feels forced - wheeling in a Mariah Carey cameo is always a sign of desperation. And yet what pulls you through is a charming cheerfulness that staves off the spectre of bad taste, and Sandler’s eminent likability. Be it playing over-the-top Bondian heroics or wooing shop owner Darlia (Entourage’s Emmanuelle Chriqui), Sandler mixes sentiment and silliness into an engaging confection. Pity the rest of the movie can’t keep up.


Verdict
A strange, mostly enjoyable mix of big political questions and crude comedy, Zohan overcomes its skeletal plotting and uneven gag ratio through Sandler’s sheer commitment to nonsense.


Reviewed by Ian Freer

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for You Don't Mess With The Zohan
Empire Star Rating

You Don't Mess with the Zohan Review

You Don't Mess With the Zohan features intermittent laughs, and will please Sandler diehards, but after awhile the leaky premise wears thin. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 23:55, 13 February 2012 | Report This Post


Another shit with Sandler. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ARmy2510 at 19:03, 31 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: You DON'T mess with him.

TERRIBLE FILM ... More

Posted by musht at 00:48, 31 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: You DON'T mess with him.

My badlowjoe did. ... More

Posted by BOHEMIANBOB at 00:02, 31 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: You DON'T mess with him.

I can't believe you dragged this thread from the depths to tell us you gave it away! ... More

Posted by BOHEMIANBOB at 23:59, 30 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: You DON'T mess with him.

1st viewing I found this film very funny subsequent viewings (when showing to friends who have not seen it before - they laughed) not so funny for me.. traded in the HD-Blu Ray copy I had, which tells you what I thought of the film as a "keeper" ;) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hampstead bandit at 21:32, 30 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: You DON'T mess with him.

lol I don't think a film called You Don't Mess With the Zohan was ever going to give a deep, well thought-through satiric analysis of the Israel conflict but yeah, it's like Micmacs with terrorism, some themes just can't be completely whimsical in their execution. You need to back that up with some genuine intelligent message or steer clear altogether. As it stands this was pretty patronising from a political point of view.   As a comedy, the first half hour was brilliant but after tha... More

Posted by Edward Nygma at 16:05, 30 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: You DON'T mess with him.

Gash! Utter gash! There were admittedly some funny bits here and there, mainly thanks to Sandler's ability (and even some moments of Mariah Carey's cameo were strangely amusing) but none of this can outweight the horribly racist facile depiction of a very real conflict that deserves more subtle and intelligent satire. Horribly one sided. Israel is not a 'counter' terrorist. There is no such thing as 'counter'-terror, that is just a buzzword invented by the Reagan administration to disguise the ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dayglowjoe at 14:46, 30 August 2010 | Report This Post


Err just "Don't......"

OK beggining, then I ended up jumping scenes at the end. Dumb ass movie for cretins. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MyPOV at 15:45, 19 July 2010 | Report This Post


ughhh

3 stars are you kidding me...this movie is painful and the one star is for Emmanuelle Chriqui and thats only cos shes hot! Unfortunately Sandler is becoming very hit and miss and I am waiting more and more for his movies to hit DVD before watching them...which is justified by this shit! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Samurai7 at 14:13, 23 November 2009 | Report This Post


A pathetic excuse for comedy ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cinefile at 04:55, 19 September 2009 | Report This Post


A pathetic excuse for comedy ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cinefile at 04:55, 19 September 2009 | Report This Post


adam sandler has hit a new low

how can anyone ever give this film 5. it is pathetic and strange and only slightly entertaining. how can empire give snatch the same rating as this hunk of shit! trust adam sandler to be in medeocre crap like this. THIS IS LOWER THAN MEET THE SPARTANS!!!!!!!!!!!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by snatch099 at 07:09, 15 September 2009 | Report This Post


Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow are horrible horrible horrible human beings

2 laughs in 2 hours and a hell of a lot of pain ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by johncarrelson at 22:11, 11 July 2009 | Report This Post


Huge Fun!

We watched this last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. It has indeed got elements of the "Airplane" comedy sensibility, along with a million other rip offs - but the cast play it straight, with nuanced, daft performances. Even if the end can be seen coming from 150 miles away - it doesn't matter - it makes you laugh and makes you feel uplifted. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The Voice of Fate at 14:26, 19 June 2009 | Report This Post


I'm abit conflicted ...some of the jokes really made me howl but there were also LONG periods of screentime where I didn't even smile. A nice way of putting a funny, silly spin on a very divisive topic though! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by SkullKassidy at 20:10, 07 March 2009 | Report This Post


Comedy Genius

I thought Adam Sandler was at his absolute best in this film. It was cheesy alot of the time but thats what made it so funny. I loved it so much i wen't to the cinema three times to see it. The only bit in the film that I thought could have been better was the ending. Overall the comedy in Zohan was perfect. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheCraigmiester at 10:39, 22 February 2009 | Report This Post


Very Strange But Funny As Well.

My sister's husband is a big fan of Adam Sandler and offered us this movie to watch and well, it's very strange but funny as well. My mum's sense of humour is very risky and sometimes shocking, she loved this movie and laughed at every scene. While it's not my type of movie, I added a few chuckles and some of them were laugh-out-loud. It might be a little over the top and wondering how on earth they got away with it, just turn off your brain for a hour or so and enjoy the richness of Sandler's c... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 09:36, 16 November 2008 | Report This Post


You DON'T mess with him.

Hilarious. A comedy for the record. Better don't fuck around with him. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 00:29, 26 September 2008 | Report This Post


Ian Freer hand in your notice

This is quite possibly the worst theatrical film i've seen this year. Don't try and dress it up as a sly political comedy, its not, although i'll admit it does try. What it is, is another silly vehicle for Adam Sandler to show that he can do other funny voices and silly dances. It sits alongside The Love Guru as one of the atrocities of the year. Hang your head in shame Ian Freer, and consider yourself lucky you still have a job. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by porter83 at 00:18, 19 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Zohan

I went into this movie with doubts, but no huge cause for concern. The trailer had its funny moments and Adam Sandler has some real gems on his CV. This is not one of them.   If I could sum it up in a sentance, "this is terrible" would not do it justice. This is God-awful.   It seems the only reason they made this film was a shameless attempt to show the racial tension worldwide after 9/11. It just doesn't work. The gags aren't funny...actually, there aren't really any gags, t... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Y2Neildotcom at 12:42, 15 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Zohan

I think Colin Jackson has seen this. He kept saying atheletes were "silky smooth" during the Olympics. ... More

Posted by UTB at 11:30, 10 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Zohan

Its not without its comic moments, but there aren't enough for its running time.  But the problem with the film is its politics both sexual and international.   Now I think films and comedies in particular should be able to go any place, but they have to do it well to be aboved criticism.  This film doesn't.  Arabs are bad and all terrorists, Jews will rip you off, but are basically better and Zohan is a supersoldier.  You've got to take a long hard look at yourself... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Professor Moriarty at 08:44, 10 September 2008 | Report This Post


Zohan

Adam Sandler has never been one to shy away from the cheap gags, and Zohan is no different. There is something inherently likeable about him though - and that may be because of the unpretentious way he approaches his films. Of course, it won’t be for everyone, - this is still very much a comedy in line with Sandler’s previous efforts. Unashamedly juvenile, the comedy superstar’s fans will undoubtedly lap this up while everyone else who's along for the ride should chuckle away. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 20:52, 07 September 2008 | Report This Post


ZOHAN

Zohan was afunny loooollo but aroflcopter lol ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bradzilllla at 20:05, 20 August 2008 | Report This Post


More user comments


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Making Of Locke: A Filmmaker's Journey
Steven Knight takes us through six pitstops (via Heston Services)

The 10 Most Exciting Movies At Cannes 2014
Empire's pick of the Croisette's finest

Tom Hardy: A Viewer's Guide
The essential, the recommended, the one for the fans... and the one to avoid

Ten Things To Know About The Spooks Movie
Under the hood of The Greater Good

Who’s In Spider-Man’s Sinister Six?
A bluffer’s guide to the planned spin-off from the Amazing Spider-films

14 YouTube Videos Every Game Of Thrones Fan Should Have Watched By Now
From goats singing the theme tune to every death in under three minutes

Hollywood's Biggest Names On Their Favourite Films
Stars and directors like Nolan, Whedon, Wright and Ford on the films that inspire them

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get Limited Edition Collectable X-Men Art Cards

Subscribe today and get 6 issues of Empire plus a set of collectable X-Men Art Cards for only £20!

Subscribe today

Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Just £25
Receive limited edition subscribers-only covers every month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)