You Don’t Mess With the Zohan: Adam Sandler—friend to gays and Arabs

All the hallmarks of an Adam Sandler vehicle are present in his latest, a comedy about an '80s-obsessed, disco-loving Israeli counterterrorist who fakes his death so that he can pursue his dream of becoming a New York City hairstylist, where he aspires to make people feel "silky smooth." Dick jokes: check. Broad stereotypes: check. Rob Schneider and John Turturro: check and check. And you know what? It mostly works—especially when the movie crosses out of its Shampoo-infused farce and into an all-out sendup of action movies in general. What's more, for every glint of homophobia (I Now Pronounce You Zohan and Larry?), the straights here go out of their way to buddy up with the gays. And rather than merely objectifying size-two hotties, Sandler fancies more seasoned dames, such as The Facts of Life's Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae). Then there's the two-ton matzoh ball in the middle of the film: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While Zohan's "we're really all the same" message is wildly simplistic, remember: This is an Adam Sandler movie, not an editorial in the daily Haaretz. It will reach millions of people who know virtually nothing of Middle Eastern affairs. Hence, Sandler deserves credit for having the balls to bring this sort of subject matter—actually very near and dear to the Jewish star—to the bumbling masses without sacrificing laughs.Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., June 6. Rated PG-13. 108 minutes. 

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