Channel24 interviews SA director, Oliver Schmitz, about his new film, Shepherds and Butchers

Dr Luke has refuted allegations that he abused Kesha by "pressuring" her into starving herself

You Don't Mess with the Zohan

2008-11-04 10:16
What it's about:

Zohan (Adam Sandler) is the most feared commando in Israel. But while he is considered the army's best weapon, he secretly dreams of one day styling hair in New York City. When an opportunity presents itself, the Mossad agent fakes his death and moves to the Big Apple. But it isn't long before his past follows him across the Atlantic and threatens his new, peaceful lifestyle.

What we thought of it:

In Hollywood feature films about the Arab-Israeli conflict, few Israelis are portrayed as good-natured heroes. Unfortunately You Don't Mess with the Zohan idolises Israelis to the point of vilifying Palestinians.

Adam Sandler, a long-time advocate for Israeli causes, might not have intentionally set out to produce a controversial comedy, but given the current political climate, this film may be misinterpreted. The comedy throughout the film stems from various Israeli culture clichés (especially the long-running joke about Hummus) and portrays the Palestinian-Israeli rivalry as an age-old tradition no one really knows the origins of, instead of focusing on the political war that has caused so much hostility and hatred.

Co-written by Sandler, SNL scribe Robert Smigel and comedy heavyweight Judd Apatow, You Don't Mess with the Zohan is a noble attempt to bridge divides with comedy, but it doesn't quite satisfy in terms of laugh volume. Like other Sandler films, there are the usual over-the-top jokes and a good dose of "he didn't just say that?!" one-liners. There are also cameos by the regular entourage including Kevin James (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry[2007], 50 First Dates [2004]), Kevin Nealon (Little Nicky [2000], Happy Gilmore [1996]) and John McEnroe (Mr Deeds [2002], Anger Management [2003]). But while Zohan starts out funny enough, it doesn't have the comedic stamina to sustain the full 102 minutes' running time.

Sandler fans will lap up the slapstick humour that's become a trademark in any Happy Madison comedy, but don't be surprised if you're bored by the time Mariah Carey makes her divalicious cameo.

- Megan Kakora

Get published on Channel24! Send us your movie, music and live gig reviews and columns and get published on Channel24. Send your articles to
A typical Sandler comedy about an Israeli commando turned NY hairdresser. It's filled with over-the-top skits and crass one-liners, but that's not enough to keep fans laughing for the full 102 minutes.

The Accountant

2016-10-21 07:49

Fiona 2008-07-29 10:52 AM
In bad taste I won't be watching this's in thoroughly bad taste to make a film of this nature. There's nothing remotely amusing about the Arab-Israeli conflict and the premise of this film is shockingly unfunny. And of course this will have a pro-Israel stance - Hollywood's attempt to brainwash through comedy. Seeing the trailer was bad enough. Yuk!
nina 2008-07-29 12:40 PM
get real this movie may be stupid but to say "Hollywood's attempt to brainwash through comedy" is ignorant and pathetic. Do some objective research before making anti-Israel comments.
Uncle 2008-07-29 01:24 PM
Blame the Boss I am utterly convinced that local cinema distributors are entirely filmically illeterate in every way. They'll gladly screen this psuedo-political unfunny nonsense that (and let's be entirely honest here) really doesn't do anything to improve our realm of existence as Saffers, yet they refuse to screen local, debate rousing, relevant films like the recently released "Triomf" (based on the multi-award winning novel by Marlene van Niekerk. But then I suppose they do know what we like - hence we get great local productions like Footskating 101, and Poena is Koning...and who could forget Bakgat...Thanks guys!
Uncle 2008-07-29 01:25 PM
Irony How ironinc...I commented on their illiteracy and managed to mispell the word itself...Hah.
Me 2008-07-29 04:08 PM
Come On Now now - why do we go to the movies??? TO forget about all the depression and war in the world. Its a comedy - and its meant to be funny and if you cant look past the "controversial" matter then maybe movies arent for you??
Uncle 2008-07-29 05:59 PM
Hey Me...ja you No boet. No. Funny is one thing - Stupid is something else entirely. Controversial films are specifically created for certain audiences and genres. I'm merely commenting on the fact that distributors think we're stupid enough to find Bakgat even mildly amusing. They treat us like idiots. Should they not be showing the intersting films (as well as the comedies) and allwoing us to choose for ourselves what we watch. New SA film "Jerusalema" is a scathing, action packed, thrilling look at crime in Jo'Burg (rivalling many international productions) but both Ster and Nu Metro are unwilling to screen it. You know what, they're right..."Faith Like Potatoes" was a much better film...NOT.
Louis 2008-07-30 07:22 AM
I just wonder If we change the setting to Holocaust Germany, what would be the reaction? Am I now comparing the current Israel/Palestine situation with the Holocaust? Would that even be fair? If we can agree that we are dealing with a comedy and that a political debate stemming from this is meaningless, then we have to apply that consistently. Is it appropriate for entertainment to base itself in such a situation? If it is not just entertainment, but social commentary, then surely the filmmaker can do that, but then the debate starts again. So which is it and which is better, a laugh at the expense of a few hundred lives for the commercial gain of Sandler, or a political message disguised as entertainment?
Shani 2008-07-30 10:09 AM
Obvious Sandler is a zionist...nuf said
Dustin 2008-08-20 11:20 PM
Biggest load of bokkendrol I've watched every single sandler film since billy madison,and this is his worst movie, even little nicky was hilarious compared to this.bad jokes,no plot,outrageously stupid premise. Just darn sad. Hopefully he'll realise he's not a super hero and become the average guy again.
Oko 2008-09-03 01:16 PM
its great since i dont like i htinkit sa great of movie and i think thr actio0n is great too its not boring i`ve seen it twice and `im planning on seeing it again its a great movie

Recent Reviews

The Accountant

2016-10-21 07:49

The film is so to say the ultimate package with a good director, good leading actor, and an all-star cast. Read More »
Add your review

Shepherds and Butchers

2016-10-21 07:49

If ever there was a reason why no government should ever have the death penalty, Shepherds and Butchers is why – a masterpiece of raw emotional trauma. Read More »
Add your review

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.