With ‘Zohan,’ Robert Smigel will mess with you

Talk about your high-concept lowbrow humor.

In the big-budget action-comedy “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” (which arrives in theaters Friday), Adam Sandler portrays the titular Zohan, an ultra-lethal Israeli counterterrorist operative who tires of his part in his country's war on terror, fakes his own death and comes to New York in pursuit of his dreams: He really wants to be a hairdresser.

Equal parts Casanova and killing machine, he's loved by women and feared by men -- a guy with a terrible mullet who brushes his teeth with hummus, can catch bullets with his nostrils and dispatches Palestinian terrorists while wearing Daisy Duke cutoff shorts. As well, the character seems to have a thing for overweight and elderly ladies. And Zohan's customers queue up the block not only for his acrobatic dye jobs and perms but also for the complimentary roll in the hay (his salon's utility room standing in for a boudoir) that he delivers after each coif.

For all his crude and vivid contradictions, the character is the brainchild of an impressive comic triumvirate: Sandler (whose movies have combined to gross more than $2 billion worldwide), comedy mogul Judd Apatow (writer-director of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and producer of such hits as "Superbad" and "Knocked Up") and the less famous but nonetheless beloved "comedian's comedian" Robert Smigel, who also executive produced "Zohan" and appears in a cameo as a hard-haggling Israeli electronics store employee.

(LA Times)


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