The trailer for Adam Sandler’s new summer comedy, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, is online, and if one strains to erase the sour taste/memories of last summer’s dreadful I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, there’s actually a chance they could muster up a modicum of enthusiasm for this flick. Costarring Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rob Schneider, Nick Swardson, the usual assortment of other Sandler players and seemingly a bevy of hot young chicks in day-player roles (check the full credits on IMDb if you doubt), the film is about a Mossad agent who, tired of years of fighting with the Palestinians, fakes his death so he can pursue his true passion — hairdressing.
Unlike so many comedies with goofball haircuts simply for the sake of forced mock laughs (I’m looking in your general direction, Ben Stiller), Sandler’s ‘do here (a more stylized version of the mop he sported in Mike Binder’s Reign Over Me) seems to work nicely. Now, Schneider in another ethnic role (what, did he and Sandler catch Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s a couple years ago?) and jokes about Hezbollah terrorist supply phone lines? We’ll see… the jury’s still out. Directed by Dennis Dugan — a fruitful Sandler collaborator on Happy Gilmore, decidedly less so on Big Daddy and Little Nicky* — Zohan gets points for the fact that it’s co-scripted by Sandler, Saturday Night Live veteran Robert Smigel and comedy man-of-the-moment Judd Apatow. That, for the moment, counterbalances the fact that the trailer summons up memories of Blow Dry, Beauty Shop and the aforementioned Chuck & Larry, not films of which I necessarily want to be reminded.
* UPDATE/CORRECTION: Yes, per the comment below, Steven Brill, not Dugan, is actually the director responsible for Little Nicky, which for some reason must have been on my brain recently. Still, Dugan did perpetrate I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, which I understand is currently being investigated by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.