YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN
Release Date: June 06, 2008
Genre: Action Comedy
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 113 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Entertainment
Director: Dennis Dugan
Executive Producer: Barry Bernardi
Producer: Jack Giarraputo and Adam Sandler
Address Comments To:Michael Lynton, Chairman/CEO
Amy Pascal, Chairman - Motion Picture Group
Sony Pictures Entertainment
(Columbia Pictures/TriStar/Screen Gems/Provident)
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000
Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
Once in New York, he finds his way to a neighborhood where Israeli immigrants live across the street from Palestinian immigrants. Zohan gets a job at a hair salon owned by love interest Dalia (played by Emmanuelle Chriqui) who gives Zohan a chance to cut hair. Quickly, Zohan’s clientele becomes middle-aged and elderly women who are charmed by him as well as the fact that after cutting their hair, he takes them to a back room where they have sexual relations.
Meanwhile, Zohan’s Palestinian rival, The Phantom (played by John Turturro), has also moved to America. He discovers that Zohan is alive and sets out to kill him. If that wasn’t enough, an evil landlord is trying to shut down the ethnic neighborhood in order to build a huge mall. The landlord hires Southern militia men to vandalize the neighborhood, hoping the Palestinians and Israelis will blame each other.
Zohan discovers that, since he is in love with Dalia, he physically can no longer “service” his women clientele. The action builds as the Palestinians and Israelis must learn to cooperate to fight the landlord villain.
ZOHAN is well made with plenty of special effects which are often funny as Zohan fights the bad guys. The action moves the story along quickly. Other than the cliché evil landlord element, the story is fresh and unique. However, nearly every shot or scene is filled with either shots of Zohan’s crotch, sexual innuendo, or images of Zohan gyrating on people and objects. How this received a PG-13 with this much sexual content is unclear. Zohan’s character is on one hand a “wide eyed innocent” in New York City, but on the other hand, a hedonist who does whatever he wants.
The movie makes the point that in America the Israeli and Palestinians can live together in peace, as they go about getting jobs and providing for their families. However, it doesn’t address any of issues that are at the heart of the Middle East conflict except that Zohan affirms that the Israelis were in the land first, and one Arab calls Zohan a “land grabber.”
Islam is never mentioned, however. Neither is Judaism. In fact, Zohan and his friends are always called “Israeli” but not “Jewish.” The movie is a comedy, so there’s no expectation that it would address these serious issues. Still, once the Middle East conflict is raised, it would have been good if the real issues were at least mentioned.
There is a mild moral theme in that Zohan realizes that if he’s in love with Dalia and wants to marry her, he can’t keep having random sexual relations with strangers. This is a minor theme, but at least it’s something. This is a crude comedy with some funny moments. However, the pervasiveness of crude humor is so constant, it requires much careful discernment when viewing. Diligent parents and other media-wise moviegoers will probably want to avoid it.
ZOHAN is well made with plenty of often funny special effects when Zohan fights the bad guys. However, nearly every shot or scene is filled with either shots of Zohan’s crotch, sexual innuendo, or other explicit images. How this movie received a PG-13 rating with this much sexual content is unclear. It’s also totally outrageous!