Jun 19, 2008

Messing with Zohan

Israeli scholar Bernard Avishai sent to see You Don’t Mess With The Zohan at the weekend — Adam Sandler’s new farce about an Israeli commando who fakes his own death so that he can become a hair-dresser. "To say the movie was very dumb is not, in this case, a compliment. Half the time I felt embarrassed for the screen, the way you feel embarrassed for, well, a high school band trying to play Appalachian Spring. Most gags seemed a five-foot leap over a seven-foot pit: the accents all sounded like the unpopular kids doing shtick at a bar-mitzvah, the humus and the groping seemed only half-intentionally tasteless.... This is to Ali G what Benny Hill was to Monty Python."

And yet. "We felt strangely elated on the drive home, even grateful for a bad comedy that falls over itself to convey something affectionate. We watched New England flow by, the smell of leftover pizza mixing with the cedars, and smiled all the way. The dialogue was dumb, the story was dumb, the acting was dumb—everything dumb. Just not as dumb as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict itself."

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