Pin It
Favorite

Take Two 

You Don't Mess With the Zohan & r & & r & by MARYANN JOHANSON & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & can't honestly say that I loved Zohan. But in a relative sense, given my history of hating Adam Sandler, it is a huge admission for me to say that I kinda got a kick out of this silly movie. It's not like Zohan isn't a mess. It's beset by random subplots that loom out of nowhere and narrative detours that the most cursory of script editing could have mended, and it's a little too madly in love with the ethnic stereotypes it bandies about in place of smarter humor.





But I was startled to find myself laughing at a few bits, early on in the film, as Sandler's Zohan, an Israeli counterterrorism commando, goes up against his nemesis, a Palestinian terrorist known as the Phantom (John Turturro). Zohan has found some unexpected laughs in sending up the outrageousness of action movies. I figured it couldn't last, though -- once Zohan comes to America, surely things would revert to the usual Sandler shtick. He's tired of being the world's best soldier, you see, and he wants merely to indulge his dream of being a hairdresser.





Oh, there's much messiness in store for Zohan once the action moves to New York City. He's forced to take a menial job sweeping up cut hair in a beauty parlor. Even worse, he's stuck in an unnamed ethnic neighborhood (the "Little Left Bank," maybe?) where Arab and Jew live together in harmony. Fortunately, Zohan avoids the pitfall that often brings down this genre of nutty comedy: There's nothing mean-spirited about it. It's crude in many ways -- the sexual humor is frank and nonstop -- but it's never vulgar. (In fact, it's often strikingly sweet.) Zohan ends up making a name for himself as a hairdresser, not only because he's quite an artist with the scissors but also because he genuinely loves women of all ages, shapes, and sizes. He is more than happy to treat his elderly clients to, ahem, a little something extra along with their haircuts and dye jobs. Zohan turns this expected angle on its head by refusing to laugh at the idea of old women as sexual creatures. It's silly, sure, but it's not dirty. Zohan is insatiable in the same way that Austin Powers is randy, as a celebration rather than something to be embarrassed about. Hey, sex is fun! the movie seems to cheer. Fun for everyone!





Of course the Phantom shows up again in New York to haunt Zohan. But if you gauge the tone correctly, even a comedy about terrorism can work. And Zohan gets it almost right, because it doesn't laugh at innocent people being hurt or religious brainwashing that turns otherwise ordinary people into killing machines. Instead, it laughs at the fact that we make mountains out of molehills, that we magnify the small differences between us rather than pointing out our many similarities. If Arabs and Jews can get along in New York, why can't they do it everywhere? A simplistic idea, sure. But it's a nice thought, isn't it? (Rated PG-13)

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • First Day of School
  • First Day of School

    Spokane International Academy marks the city's first real experiment with charter schools
    • Sep 2, 2015
  • Getting Schooled
  • Getting Schooled

    Spokane teachers contemplate strike; plus, Mayor Condon unveils his budget
    • Sep 2, 2015
  • On Notice
  • On Notice

    A proposed ordinance would give neighbors a heads-up about developments, but the Spokane Home Builders Association says it'll drive away builders
    • Sep 2, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Paul Bunyan Days

Paul Bunyan Days @ St. Maries

Sept. 5-7

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Manufacturing Fear

    Spokane's Republican sheriff says members of his own party are dangerously dividing people
    • Aug 12, 2015
  • 'Flip of a Coin'

    A Spokane Valley deputy trained to spot stoned and drunk drivers is wrong nearly as often as he is right, blood tests from drivers show
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


marijuana


Comment


Publisher's Note


BUSINESS


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation