There are many times when Adam Sandler has been mentioned in the same sentence as Jerry Lewis and it is true he manages to impress as many people as he alienates, with his own brand of mindlessly stupid comedy in the same way Lewis achieved in the 60s.
In his latest vehicle, Sandler is obviously trying hard to prove to everyone he can be subversive and stupid at the same time by making Middle Eastern stereotypes his main characters.
There is every chance that insightful humour can be found in a movie which ends up pitching an Israeli superspy known as the Zohan against an ace Palestinian agent branded The Phantom in the middle of New York but Sandler was never likely to be the one to exploit it.
He is more interested in exploring his character’s ability to seduce women in their 80s and 90s, in demonstrating how funny it is to repeatedly kick a domestic cat for no apparent reason, punching cows or sticking razor-toothed fish in his Speedos.
The set-up has Sandler’s spy faking his death in Israel so he can smuggle himself to America to pursue his dream of becoming a hairdresser. In addition to his conflict with Turturro’s Phantom, he also becomes engaged in a battle with an American businessman who wants to tear down an ethnic neighbourhood to replace it with a generic shopping mall.
All of this is basically irrelevant, though. The simple fact is that if you like Adam Sandler at his crudest and rudest, this is your dream movie come true. If you don’t, steer well clear.
STAR RATING: **