YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN (**1/2) - Starring Adam Sandler, John Turturro, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rob Schneider, Nick Swardson, Lainie Kazan, Kevin Nealon, Dave Matthews, Michael Buffer, Charlotte Rae, Ido Mosseri and Ahmed Ahmed.
Written by Adam Sandler & Robert Smigel & Judd Apatow.
Directed by Dennis Dugan.
I think I know the parts that Judd Apatow wrote. The parts where we get five - count 'em, five - different shots of Adam Sandler's butt double. We also get one of Lainie Kazan's butt double. There's constant sex talk but there's no F-words so it gets to keep its PG-13.
This movie is better than Click and I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, maybe because Sandler has an accent and isn't playing a total jerk. It also has a patriotic tone and ideas on how to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It took me a while, but I realized how much this movie was backing the idealism of America and how rare that is in movies these days. 1980's patriotism in movies was usually tied to "let's hate the Russians." We're so cynical these days, and this decade, that it's weird to see a movie that argues the good things about this country.
At the same time it has a corporate millionaire white-guy villain we can all boo and hiss. That he's played by Michael "Let's get ready to rumble" Buffer just shows how out-of-the-box Sandler can be with his casting. I think Happy Gilmore is still his best comedy (not counting his art movies) because of the scene where he and Bob Barker get in a fight.
I would have liked the movie more had it given more to Sandler buddy Kevin Nealon, and I give it kudos for not casting Allen Covert. Still, other Sandler pals like Rob Schneider, Chris Rock and Henry Winkler show up. (What, no David Spade?) There are plenty of other surprise-funny cameos I won't list, but in the realm of other casting oddities - Mrs. Garrett herself, Charlotte Rae, gets seduced by the love-happy Zohan. And Mrs. Garrett wasn't young on The Facts of Life thirty years ago.
Sandler is Zohan, an Israeli Mossad agent who is the best fighter in the world. He's bored with killing Palestinian terrorists and wants to pursue his real dream - being a Paul Mitchell hair stylist. He fakes his death and moves to New York, where he becomes a sensation for styling the hair of older women, not to mention making love to them afterwards.
It's silly, stupid, made me smile a few times and giggle once or twice, and probably worth a $1 theater looksy if youv'e found other Sandler movies funny. And no one says "You can do eet!" anywhere, thank goodness.