"You Don't Mess With The Zohan: 2-Disc Unrated Version" 2-Disc DVD Review

October 15, 2008 by James Harvey

It wouldn't be a summer without an Adam Sandler movie, would it? Every summer it seems like we get another tossed at us, and every year it tends to rake in a nice chunk of change before disappearing. And now, Sandler's latest, You Don't Mess With The Zohan, is now returning to public conscience with its release on home video. And, well, it's an Adam Sandler movie, all right. Fans of Adam Sandler will likely find much to quote over the next couple of months as we get the usual display of bizarre and off-kilter shenanigans. So, without further adieu, let's take a closer look at Sander's latest offering.

Comedy superstar Adam Sandler is back - and funnier than ever - as The Zohan, the finest counter-terrorist agent the Israeli army has. That is, until he fakes his death and travels to Manhattan to live his dream...as a hairdresser. Now this skilled fighting machine who used to clip bad guys is out to prove he can make the cut as a top stylist. All goes silky smooth until his cover is blown when he's recognized by a Palestinian cab driver (Rob Schneider). Now, The Zohan must fight to live a peaceful new life in New York in this razor-sharp action-packed comedy from Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel, Judd Apatow and Dennis Dugan. You are about to learn why you don't mess with The Zohan!

You know, I understand the need for an Adam Sandler movie. We need the laugh, you know? I understand their purpose and I can see why they're appealing. I really, really do. Sadly, I just don't find these movies all that funny. Sure, they're sorta funny and you can get a few laughs out of it, but for the most part, they tend to just fall flat in execution. And You Don't Mess With The Zohan follows the usual Sandler outline, which is a total shame. It looked like an absolutely bizarre and out-there movie which, sadly, is kind of pedestrian with the finished product. It's not an absolutely horrible film by any means, but it just doesn't hit the heights it easily should have.

As per the synopsis, Sandler stars as a former counter-terrorist agent turned hairdresser, and, well, that sounds like it could be really out there, right? Well, yeah, it should be, but it's not. It's sort of tired and seems to follow the usual Sandler comedy that we come to expect. The movie basically enables Sandler to do whatever he pleases, this time to engage in souped-up fist fights and do a little dancing. Well, a lot of dancing, actually. During this time, of course, Sandler and his co-stars lay on incredibly thick accents, I imagine this is done intentionally and for comic effect.

I will say that the stunt work is done pretty well. Sure, it's a lot of body doubles and such, but there's some pretty impressive effect work being done, especially using some old-school tricks. There's a couple wire sequences and a great little sequence toward the end when multiple lookalikes are used, from a distance far away from the camera, of course. For those looking for a bit of action, you'll find it. It's usually turned up to be comical, but there's a couple pretty neat sequences that turn out to be somewhat impressive and funny, especially in a sequence toward the beginning of the movie when Sander's character Zohan is asked to take down the apparently evil Phantom. The movie also contains some notably weak CGI, which involves one scene which involves a piranha and some noticeably horrible CGI. Naturally, things aren't as black and white as they seem.

I suppose this could be noted as one of Sandler's weaker efforts. Given the great amount of movies he's done, I'm sure he's running out of wacky ideas to do, but I found this movie was surprisingly lacking. Still, it managed to make $100 million at the box-office, which essentially guarantees us another Sandler-led comedy very soon. Personally, I can't really recommend anything more than a Rental for this movie. It's more of a one-note diversion, one that I can't see being worth multiple viewings. It lacks the punch that Sandler tends to bring to the screen, but it'll still likely get some laughs from the Sandler diehards. Regardless, I still found You Don't Mess With The Zohan to be one of his weaker efforts in quite some time, which is a shame given the potential of the absolutely bizarre premise.

The DVD:

Sony Home Entertainment has released You Don't Mess With The Zohan: Two-Disc Unrated Edition in the standard Amaray case with a hinge-flap to hold both discs. The menu layout is simple and easily accessible. The audio and video for this release is pretty excellent for a standard definition DVD release. It's not reference material by any means, but it's a fine video transfer and the audio is just as good, if not better. Everything is crystal clear and distinct with a great 5.1 mix. You won't miss a thing with the audio and video transfer here!

So, how do the bonus features in the You Don't Mess With The Zohan: 2-Disc Unrated Version stack up? Well, there's quite a lot of extra material. Sure, a lot of it is fluff, but there's some good stuff in there, too. The first disc holds a commentary with Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel, Rob Schneider, and Nick Swardson. There's an additional commentary with director Dennis Dugan. On top of that, we have over ten minutes of deleted scenes and ten behind-the-scenes featurette. Some of it is solid content, like a featurette about a character who didn't make the final cut, "The Robot," but there's also ones like "Laughing is Contagious," which is a blooper reel but...also isn't at the same time. It just seems to be random scenes, most of which includes cast and crew, you guessed it, laughing. The second disc contains five more featurettes on the film, as well as a few more featurettes that fall under a "News on 3" banner where we learn more about Sandler's Zohan character. All in all, it's a lot of fluff and it seems somewhat misdirected without any clear focus. The second disc also contains a digital copy of the movie.

All in all, for fans of the movie, the bonus material should provide some entertainment, but nothing of any real substance. And I suppose that also says something about the movie. There's nothing really solid here. We have a funny and bizarre idea, but it just doesn't connect and comes across as a pedestrian effort on Sandler's part, which is a bit of a shame. Again, it's a perfectly off-kilter idea, but one that Sandler just can't execute that well. You Don't Mess With The Zohan: 2-Disc Unrated Edition makes for a good Rental, but nothing else, I'd say. There's a few good comedy bits here and there, and the odd cool action sequences, but, overall, it just doesn't come together in the end.

You Don't Mess With The Zohan: 2-Disc Unrated Edition is now available DVD and Blu-ray. A single disc release is also available.

 

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