You Don't Mess with the Zohan

 
Lots of lewd Sandler stuff, but also some laughs.
  • Review Date: June 3, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 113 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

No group is spared from the movie's mockery, including the elderly, homosexuals, racists, and more. Despite this, you could argue that the movie actually promotes a message of peace and understanding among warring nations -- and there's even a secondary message of love crossing barriers.

Positive role models

Zohan is a killer by trade, and he's pretty good at it. He shows no
compunction about hurting other people (though he does profess later to
being tired of it). He also lies to family and friends about his
whereabouts and to his new American acquaintances about his identity.

Violence

Lots, but it's quite cartoonish and generally played for laughs. For example, Zohan can jump from rooftops and land on enemies without getting hurt, he gets shot at without getting hit because he stops bullets with his bare hands, and he can successfully battle loads of gun-equipped assassins. Other characters brandish weapons and missiles, and there's a fair amount of kicking and tossing people around. In one scene, someone cuts off Zohan's hand, which he then uses to kill his tormentor.

Sex

Plentiful, and plenty crass. The film begins with lots of cleavage (and has plenty more throughout), punctuated immediately by a close-up of Sandler's naked backside (which viewers see again later). Incessant sexual jokes, suggestions of Zohan bedding all sorts of women as part of the "hairdressing experience." Sex scenes include some group activities. Lots of lewd references to body parts, sexual activity, etc. A woman's naked backside is visible in one scene in which intercourse is implied. Zohan gives his clients "happy endings."

Language

Language includes "goddamn," "s--t," "jackass," "screw," and more.

Consumerism

Signage everywhere, from Zohan's favorite fizzy soda to Phantom's fast food restaurants. Also, clear logos/signs for movers, stores, malls, and the venerable Paul Mitchell hair salon.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some social drinking, primarily at the beach parties Zohan hosts in the beginning of the movie.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that You Don't Mess with the Zohan is a classic Adam Sandler movie: Crude, impolitic, and riddled with sexual jokes, swearing, and offhand nudity (including a couple of shots of Sandler's bare butt). For exactly those reasons, it's very likely to attract his usual fan base, many of whom are teens. The film pokes fun at everything and everyone -- the elderly, political assassins, homosexuals, cabdrivers, racists, hairdressers, women with breast implants -- and often teeters on the line between funny and downright insulting. But, believe it or not, it's all in the name of the heartwarming (if cliched) message that love -- and, for that matter, personal goals -- triumphs over war and politics.

What's the story?

In YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN, Adam Sandler takes on Arab-Jewish relations -- for real -- by playing Zohan, an Israeli super spy who's tired of the usual assassin-foiling that his job entails. ("Super spy" actually barely covers it: He can somersault off buildings, stop bullets in their tracks, and bed women -- all at the same time.) Instead of wielding machine guns, he'd rather brandish scissors and become the world's best hairstylist. A battle with his nemesis, Phantom Muchentuchen (an amusing John Turturro), gives him an opening and he bolts, leaving everyone back home thinking he's dead. A new world awaits in New York City, but Zohan's no superstar here. The high-end salons all think he's a joke, so his only option is to apprentice at a Palestinian store -- which gives Zohan pause. But nothing will stop him from making his dream come true; he sets politics aside and becomes a runaway success. But eventually his cover is blown -- plus, a real estate developer is threatening to close the salon. How will Zohan prevail?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

That Sandler's brand of crass humor -- aided and abetted by Judd Apatow, who co-wrote the script -- could be paired with issues like world politics and gentrification is improbable, but at some level, it works.

Yes, the first half of the movie is cringe-worthy, with leaden jokes and sodden, distasteful stereotypes. The hummus punchlines, the crotch-thrusting, and the references to Zohan's enormous "package" get old quick. But some quips, particularly later in the movie, are so brazen that you have to laugh. (Retirees being serviced by an over-coiffed Zohan, who always gives his customers "happy endings"? Priceless.) By the time Phantom and Zohan face off again, you'll have been beaten into submission. And you'll be laughing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Sandler's brand of crude humor. Clearly, the film is using exaggeration for comic effect, but do they cross the line? If so, when, and who defines what "the line" is in the first place?

  • Do you think Sandler needs to rely on stereotypes to arrive at his

  • message about transcending differences in the name of happiness?

  • Does

  • the crude humor take away from the movie or help it succeed?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 5, 2008
DVD release date:October 7, 2008
Cast:Adam Sandler, Emmanuelle Chriqui, John Turturro
Director:Dennis Dugan
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Genre:Comedy
Run time:113 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:crude and sexual content throughout, language and nudity

This review of You Don't Mess with the Zohan was written by

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Quality

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous July 20, 2014
age 15+
 

One of the funnier Sandler movies. Lots of slapstick humor.

My rating:PG-13 for comic slapstick violence,language,sexuality/nudity and crude content
Kid, 12 years old July 9, 2010
age 12+
 

18 and up should be the only ones watching this.

I watched this a few years ago with my family. We had to turn it off !! It was SO innappropriate and disgusting ! I don't remember much of it but even with me being young and nieve about what was going on it still made me have that bad feeling inside when you know that something is wrong. way way too much sexuality.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written byTwilight September 8, 2009
age 17+
 

Funny Movie, Too many Sex Jokes.

Funny Movie. Way Way Way too many Off color jokes though. It got to the point where it started to become uncomfortable watching it with others. He's constantly talking about getting "Sticky" with people. Not to mention all the jokes about how "Hard" he is. The movie would've been plenty funny without all this kind of stuff.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 17 years old Written byJosh Lambert October 3, 2010
age 13+
 

Stupid and kinda innapropriate

I meen there is some sexual references, content, and of course nudity. But overall the film is a hard, solid PG-13 MOVIE. I saw the unrated version (i DONT RECOMMEND IT) but it was not that bad. for me. THe nudity is obviously adam sandlers butt in numerous scenes, and there was also in the unrated version a woman's butt. This movie was not even good thoughprobably one of the worst movies ever! JUST DONT TAKE UR KIDS TO SEE IT GO SEE SOMETHING ELSE.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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