I laughed. There, I said it. I went to an Adam Sandler movie and I laughed. Why? It was funny. At times it was riotously funny. It is shameless in its willingness to push the boundaries of good taste. I daresay You Don't Mess With the Zohan may just be Sandler's funniest "stupid" comedy since the 1990s. Of course, he has not made a movie this outrageous since Anger Management paired him with Jack Nicholson back in 2003.
The past decade has seen Sandler attempt to expand his goofy voiced man-child character repertoire into other arenas. He has tried art house comedy with Punch Drunk Love, romantic comedy with 50 First Dates, more mature "adult" comedy with Spanglish and Click, and even drama with Reign Over Me. While all of those have been successful to one degree or another, he has never been able to shake the stigma of his early work, which brought him so much fame in the early 1990s. You Don't Mess With the Zohan is something of a tribute to those fans who have stuck with him over the years, and it is a fun return to his roots.
This time out Sandler is Zohan, an Israeli counter-terrorist agent who has grown weary of the constant fighting, exhausted from all of the hate, and who no longer wishes to take part in it. He has dreams of leaving Israel, moving to the United States, and becoming a hair stylist (working for Paul Mitchell, of course). When he isn't out catching terrorists or doing a little disco dancing (and showing off his crotch), he studies an old Paul Mitchell book of hair styles, plotting a way out. His parents think he is silly for having such thoughts, believing he should be content with his terrorist-catching gifts and enjoy his life in the military.
Zohan refuses to give up his dream, and when he faces off with a terrorist known as Phantom (John Turturro), he sees a way out. He fakes his death only to resurface in New York, where he goes about making his dream a reality. It is a task that is not as easy as he had thought. After a few failed auditions (including battling dreads he believes to be an animal), he finds a job with a Palestinian woman named Dalia (Emmanuelle Chriqui). It is here that he plies his newfound trade, cutting the hair of elderly women and also providing them with sex (leading to many humorous scenes).