You don’t mess with the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Last night I watched 3/4ths of Adam Sandler’s You Don’t Mess With the Zohan.

Really, it was like any other Adam Sandler character acting film; Little Nicky, Waterboy. His extreme characters are not his strongest point for me (I’m more of a Billy Madison/Happy Gilmore fan). I’m always able to enjoy the twisted nature of his characters, yes, but at the same time, I feel lonely in that fact. Hence, only seeing 3/4ths of the movie; everyone around me was either asleep or unhappy.

Then again, it wasn’t like any other Adam Sandler character acting film. It was like a message of peace wrapped in ridiculous. I was pleasantly surprised by the handful of scenes that contained real dialogue and messages between the lines concerning the cyclical nature of Arab-Israeli violence.

I found it interesting that Sandler was banking on his audience to care for a movie with Arab and Israeli characters. A lot of the jokes totally ostracize people who don’t know much about Israel, while at the same time I think there could have been even deeper jokes for those of us who do. Why stop at hummus?

Of course, I can understand why the Israelis portrayed in the film are nothing like the Israelis in real life; similarly – and even more so – the Palestinians portrayed in the film are nothing like the Palestinians in real life. But I was not ready to get angry. It was half-baked satire, and that’s all i was expecting going into it.

I guess what bothered me more – because I was never going to take this movie all that seriously – Is that Adam Sandler is so much more than toilet humor. I don’t understand what goes through his head when he makes these character movies, which tend to blend together and lack finishing touches, as if he’s reaching for something but never quite there.

Leave that to Sacha Baron Cohen…


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