“You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” – Joanna Langfield reviews

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Adam Sandler clearly has some awfully good intentions in making this movie; what we wind up with is, unfortunately, just awful.

Zohan is an Israeli Mossad agent, fed up with all the fighting already. So, faking his death, he takes off for New York, hoping to cash in on his dream; to snip the ladies’ hair and make smooth and silky. Filmed on an Israeli beach, the opening scenes are a travelogue that is clearly designed to sell tourists tickets. So why ruin the gorgeous scenery with repetitive shots of Sandler’s soft tush and its unique talent for catching fish? And, while it is admirable Adam brings along his coterie of players from picture to picture, what he does with them isn’t much more flattering than that flabby behind. The often funny John Turturro is reduced to mugging as an Arab bad guy, who, we find out has more in common with his arch enemy than he ever knew. Indeed, the entire “message” of this picture, that, under the right circumstances (in this case the multicultural lower East Side and lots of hummos), long standing rival ethnicities can get along, is sweet. So why dumb it down with endless and tasteless sex jokes? What is particularly sad is the mixed opportunity served up to veterans Lainie Kazan, Charlotte Rae, Shelley Berman and Henry Winkler. It’s great to see them getting work, but what they have to do is grotesque.

Sandler has proven to be an ambitious, charismatic leading man, but his charm here wears very thin, very quick. While I understand that a mainstream comedy promoting an end to a two thousand year old conflict needs to lighten it up along the way in order to remain saleable, the alleged funny stuff in this movie just isn’t funny at all.

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Joanna Langfield (Archived Contributor)

Her voice is heard throughout the 50 states and around the world by more than one million listeners on her syndicated radio programs: Joanna Langfield’s People Report and Video and Movie Minute. She’s also seen and heard as a regular contributing commentator on CNN International, CNN, Fox News and CNBC. In print, her articles have been published in such high profile magazines as Video Review and McCall’s. Joanna Langfield is known for taking interviews to another level with probing looks at celebrities’ insights rather than just their latest projects. As a result, she’s secured a niche among the nation’s premier interviewers and movie critics. Joanna began her career on the production staff of a local Boston television station. She then focused her energies towards radio and produced talk shows at WMEX-AM in Boston. After moving to New York, she became executive producer at WMCA-AM for talk show personalities Barry Gray and Sally Jessy Raphael. She began hosting a one-minute movie review spot which, in turn, led to her top-rated weekend call in-show, The Joanna Langfield Show (1980-83). Joanna moved to WABC-AM to host The Joanna Langfield Show on Saturday nights from 9:00pm to midnight. It was the highest rated show in its time slot. From 1987-1989, Joanna hosted Today’s People on the ABC Radio network, which was fed daily to over 300 stations around the country. She also appeared on WABC-TV as a regular on-air contributor. In 1989, Joanna formed her radio production company, Joanna Langfield Entertainment Reports, to syndicate her radio reports. She is considered to be one of the top authoritative commentators on the entertainment industry. Read Lagfield's recent articles below. For her Women On Film archive, type "Joanna Langfield" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).