Friday, August 1, 2008

Sandler's `Zohan' Makes Shampoo-poo: Review

June 6 (Bloomberg) -- What's hilarious about Adam Sandler's pelvic gyrations, un-P.C. barbs and hummus obsession? Taken individually, perhaps you could find something laugh-worthy in there; mash them together into a 90-minute movie and all you've got is an hour and a half of pathetic.

``You Don't Mess With the Zohan'' stars Sandler (who also co-wrote the movie with the ubiquitous Judd Apatow and Robert Smigel, of ``Saturday Night Live'') as an Israeli counter- intelligence agent who's really a pacifist and whose true passion is hairdressing. Fed up with miraculous feats of assassination and disco-dancing on the beach, he fakes his death and flees to America, where his goal is to work for his idol, salon king Paul Mitchell.

After a series of mishaps (including a scene with a spoiled brat in a tony East Side kids' salon that may actually win Zohan some fans), he finds work at a parlor run by a beautiful Palestinian woman (Emmanuelle Chriqui). She shares Zohan's dream of world peace but is skeptical of his motives.

Many mindless minutes are devoted to watching an oversexed Zohan please his aging female customers, which is only slightly less annoying than the movie's final scene, involving a possible corporate takeover and the sudden appearance of Zohan's arch- enemy, a Palestinian terrorist known as the Phantom. Lots of laughs there.

Even the versatile and entertaining John Turturro, as the Phantom, fails to save the film from being an almost totally brainless farce.

Perhaps Apatow needs a rest. He's worked on roughly a dozen movies in the past four years, and they're declining in quality. It's time, as well, for Sandler to recapture what made him a success back in his ``SNL'' or ``Billy Madison'' days, which seem long ago, indeed.