Over the weekend I saw Adam Sandlers new movie, “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan”. Most people, myself included, figured it to be a slap stick comedy that would not provide much in the way of intellectual stimulation. However, by the end of the movie this was not the case. Of course, most of the movie was based around slap stick jokes dealing with Israelis and Arabs obsessions with hummus, disco music, and crazy clothing worn by that of the areas youth. However, though few people may recognize it, I found there to be an underlying message that was only revealed at the movies conclusion.
The premise of the Zohan is that the greatest Israeli soldier of all time is tired of fighting terrorists and wants to move to America to avoid embarrassment in fulfilling his life long dream of becoming a hair dresser. He ends up working in a part of New York City that is split between Israelis and Palestinians. Going along with the current trend of globalization, a New York business guru wants to buy the area that the Israelis and Palestinians reside in so that he can build a mega mall.
However, neither side will budge and he has to devise a scheme in order to make them leave. To do this he hires some local thugs to dress up like Haredim and Arab’s and sends them out to vandalize the respected parties properties. Thinking that the other side did it, this ignites a hostile environment that only adds to the already present resentment. Like all great hero’s, the Zohan foils the plan and shows the people of his area that corporate America was at the heart of their problems. Realizing that he is right both sides reconcile and we end the movie knowing that the two sides created a warm peace between themselves.
If one takes a minute to explore how everything was made good again, it is realized that the problems found in this movie in terms of why the New Yorker Israelis and Palestinians were fighting, are in fact not that different for why America is in an on going battle with many countries in the Middle East. We allow corporate America to do whatever it wants at the expense of whoever it wants. And as a result hostile environments, significantly more severe then was portrayed in the Zohan, are created and maintained. Who knew that there would be such a nice lesson to be learned from such a ridiculous movie, that lesson being to respect the people around you and their traditions.