Sadly, I was living in the Middle East when the film came out in 2008--and most Arab countries didn't put it in the movie theaters. So, until I saw it tonight here at the edge of East Asia, I had been oblivious to the film's existence. Amazingly, the film is not highly rated in most media venues and many internet site rating systems.
FINEST POST-ZIONIST ACTION HAIRDRESSING COMEDY EVER
Nonetheless, "[o]n the positive side, Time claimed the film to be a "laff scuffle," and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 out of 4 stars. David Edelstein of New York Magazine went as far as to say "Adam Sandler is mesmerizing," and A.O Scott of The New York Times said it was "the finest post-Zionist action-hairdressing sex comedy I have ever seen.'"
Writing for Salon.com , Zacharak notes that in "'You Don't Mess With the Zohan' -- in which Adam Sandler plays an Israeli counterterrorist commando whose big dream is to become a hairdresser -- is the movie "Munich"  should have been. At the very least, it's got to be the first picture to use smelly-feet jokes as a means of parsing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
"Munich" was one of those Stephen Spielberg films that Zacharak described as was "interested in notions of personal responsibility and guilt as he [Spielberg] is in pure storytelling." Zacharack noted of Spielberg that "at his best, he helps us make the distinction between the facile and somewhat detached motto favored by Christian teens, "What would Jesus do?' and the more probing realist-humanist question, "What would -- or should -- I have done?'"
Munich was "a fictionalized version of a real-life story: After the Palestinian terrorist group Black September kidnapped and murdered 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, Israel responded -- secretly -- by assigning a team of underground hit men to seek out and kill 11 men whom Israeli intelligence had identified as masterminds of the plot. "Munich,' its script by Eric Roth and Tony Kushner, was inspired by Canadian journalist George Jonas' controversial book, "Vengeance.'"
In contrast, Zacharak says that ""You Don't Mess With the Zohan" is "a mainstream movie that dares to make jokes about the kinds of complex political realities that most of us don't dare bring up at dinner parties. And while it doesn't attempt to offer any viable diplomatic solution (you won't see Sandler accepting the Nobel Peace Prize anytime soon, or ever), it makes a valiant effort to bridge a gap that most of us, dispiritingly, have come to believe is unbridgeable."
FIGHTING FOR 2000+ YEARS
Giving a big thumbs up to the effort of Sandler's Zacharach narrates the beginning of the Adam Sandler tale, " And while it [Zohan] doesn't attempt to offer any viable diplomatic solution (you won't see Sandler accepting the Nobel Peace Prize anytime soon, or ever), it makes a valiant effort to bridge a gap that most of us, dispiritingly, have come to believe is unbridgeable. When Zohan's mother, played by the saucy, sunny Dina Doronne, urges him to stay in the army, she professes to see some light at the end of this very long, dark tunnel: "They've been fighting for 2,000 years, it can't be much longer." The stark reality is that it probably will be.'"