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<Movie Details
19 February 2009 by Tim Evans

The last thing you'd expect would be the Arabs and Israelis laying down their arms and become pals. Or Adam Sandler making a half-decent comedy.

You get both here.

Post September 11, Hollywood has fought shy of portraying the Arab-Israeli conflict in comedy terms and has opted for the hard-hitting docu-dramas such as United 93 or World Trade Center.

In the decade since The Wedding Singer, Sandler's output has tiresomely trodden the path of gurning American everyman shrugging his shoulders and gamely struggling on.

Unfortunately, we struggled with him through a whole raft of movies - Mr Deeds, The Longest Yard, Click - until dropping beyond the bottom of the barrel with I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.

On first appearance, Sandler - a Brooklyn Jew - attempts to do for Zionists what he did for gays in Chuck and Larry as we meet him strutting down a Tel Aviv beach wowing the babes.

He's Zohan Dvir, a crack Israeli anti-terrorism commando who fakes his own death during an assassination so he can disappear to America...and open his own hairdressing salon.

Pretending to be Australian and hiding his ruthless Mossad background, he winds up sexually wowing the blue rinsers at a crimpers run by Palestinian Emmanuelle Chriqui. However, how long can he keep his cover?

While the premise may not stand up to scrutiny, Sandler's performance - relatively restrained and nicely judged - makes you almost warm to the man who dumbly shrugged his way through years of neo-con tat. 

It definitely helps that Judd "Knocked Up" Apatow was involved in writing early drafts of the script - his sharp eye for comedy detail is what's always been missing in Sandler's lumbering approach.

A highpoint is a very funny, RSPCA-baiting setpiece where Zohan and his buddies engage in a cat-kicking competition (it's CGI but reassuringly realistic) while his seduction of the old biddies queueing up at his salon is amusing because it's so brain wrong.

It's been an age since you could put your hand on your heart and say "go and see an Adam Sandler movie".

Go and see an Adam Sandler movie.