You Don’t Mess With the Zohan Review

Please, mess with the Zohan. Doing so typically leads to crude, explicit, and often hilarious moments ranking with Sandler’s best gags. Zohan is not a movie for the easily offended, those who dislike the human body in all of its unpleasant forms, or those who find excessive pubic hair jokes lacking merit.

Most of Sandler’s audience, well, all that works for them.

Even after The Waterboy, Billy Madison, and Happy Gilmore, Zohan proves that it is possible to actually be more absurd than all of those combined. Sandler, as the Israeli special forces immigrant, deals out blows with an efficient grace that defies all known laws of physics, the speed of sound, and all logic. That’s why it works.

While the story itself — which has Sandler desperately seeking a way to become a hairdresser despite his past — becomes predictable, each new scene brings something unexpected. From a number of cameos (Henry Winkler, Chris Rock, Kevin James) to the ways in which Sandler can repeatedly draw audiences to his crotch area and still remain funny, Zohan is rarely dull.

Pushing two hours, this one runs longer than it should without question. The funniest moments come as Sandler is allowed to finally cut some hair in a montage, and that’s when the film never lets up. Numerous scenes could be cut entirely, both due to repetition in the jokes and needlessness in the script. The director’s cut included on the Blu-ray actually adds five minutes and changes a few lines with little effect.

Zohan tries to do more than become an equal opportunity offender. The ending makes a valiant attempt to make note of American’s attitudes towards Middle Eastern immigrants, though attempting to make this is a message movie is a joke in and of itself. This is purely a surface level piece, and to expect to the audience to take something away from it is as absurd as playing hacky sack with your butt crack… which is also in the movie.

The film’s audience is already of aware of what to expect, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else even wanting to see it. Sandler’s goofy, raunchy comedy fans will be thoroughly satisfied. These types of comedies aren’t as common as they used to be with Sandler attempting more serious work as of late, but it’s good to know he’s still willing to go back and act like an idiot for his fans once in a while.

Movie ★★★★☆ 

zohan

Unfortunately, someone messed with the Zohan in an ugly way, resulting in a sub-par, ugly hi-def transfer. Comparing the deleted footage on the disc to the actual film reveals a heavier grain structure, which is all but eliminated in the main feature. It’s odd too since the film was shot digitally, and digital is how this one looks (in a bad way).

Bronzed flesh tones are the only thing of note on the actors faces. Facial detail isn’t a part of this presentation. Black levels are poor and rarely fully resolved. Contrast runs hot, especially numerous shots inside the salon where it becomes blinding. Color is over saturated although under control. Sharpness remains firm, but this isn’t positive enough to salvage this awful looking transfer.

Video ★★☆☆☆ 

TrueHD is the audio format of choice, delivering a fair amount of impressive moments. The low end offers a few sporadic moments of rumble, yet never as deep as the best discs. The surrounds have some minor work during the action scenes, from bullets firing to glass shattering. Dialogue tracks into the stereo channels with nice effect. It’s a fine effort that doesn’t stray far from expectations.

Audio ★★★★☆ 

Two commentaries should cover everything you need to know about this one, the first from the actors (Sandler, Robert Smigel, Rob Schneider, Nick Swardson), and the second from director Dennis Dugan. Translating the Zohan is a pop-up feature that translates the lyrics to the songs used in the movie.

A massive selection of 13 featurettes total nearly 90 minutes, although many are skippable. Still, there’s no excuse for not including these together as one documentary. There’s a lot of footage from the set, and specific features on many of the actors. Deleted scenes run 12 minutes, and generic BD-Live access doesn’t offer anything pertaining to the movie itself.

Extras ★★★★☆ 

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