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You Don't Mess with the Zohan


Stars: Adam Sandler, John Turturro, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Nick Swardson, Rob Schneider, Shelley Berman, Dina Doron, Lainie Kazan

Director: Dennis Dugan

A low, low Adam Sandler comedy aimed squarely at the groin, casting the star as a crack (and crackingly well endowed) Israeli agent who tires of demolishing Palestinians and, with the world thinking he's dead, heads for America and a new life as a hairdresser - starting with two Old English sheepdogs with whom he stows away.

Ironically, the only position he can find in New York is a menial one at a salon run by Dalia (Chriqui), who gives him a job sweeping the floor - which he turns into an art form. When the chief stylist quits as the salon is threatened with closure by a giant corporation, the Zohan, now Scrappy Coco (after the dogs) is, in an appropriate phrase, thrust into the breach.

He soars to fame giving the local matrons both superstyles and sex after the event, before his cover (oops, there we go again) is blown and his old enemy The Phantom (Turturro) seeks him out.

There are lots and lots of gags about the Zohan's huge assets in a film that also tries, rather wincingly, to squeeze in pleas for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians - 'They hate us,' complain the Palestinian New Yorkers. 'They hate us too,' grumble their Israeli counterparts. 'They think we're you' - that will never bear fruit.

So, if you're looking for a bad, bad taste, lowbrow comedy for a late summer night, with not too many laughs - though the cat-kicking is fun - but a colossal amount of energy, you could do a lot worse. Chris Rock, John McEnroe, Henry Winkler, Schneider (for once effective as a manic Arab cabbie) and Mariah Carey do guest shots, though Winkler has little more to do than projectile vomit.

David Quinlan

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Colour.
113 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 11 Aug 2008