Adam Sandler's superstardom is based on plots crammed with lewd, suggestive and often objectionable bathroom humor that borders the hard edge between PG-13 and R. This is stuff your average 15-year-old finds funny.
But Sandler is 40.
This symbol of what passes for American Gen X humor has a long list of bad movies. Regular readers know I complain about them a lot. They are rife with obnoxious fart jokes and unnecessary perverse sexual references that detract from the ability of this talented actor and comedian.
Nothing Sandler has done to date is as offensive or as disgraceful as You Don't Mess with the Zohan. And it isn't because of the supposed-to-shock-you nude shots of his backside or when he catches food items in his butt cheeks.
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Co-written by Sandler and the equally insufferable Judd Apatow of Knocked Up fame and Saturday Night Live veteran Robert Smigol, Zohan casts Sandler as a Mossad agent who fakes his death and moves to the U.S. to become a hairstylist.
With a fondness for hairstyles and dress that died with disco, the only clients Zohan attracts is little old ladies ranging from the late '70s to close to 100. As a reward for their business, Zohan has sex with them.
It hits a new level of American cinema low. Sandler should be ashamed.
Mr. Movie rating: 1/2 star.
Rated PG-13 for crude, mature themes, brief nudity. Opens today at the Carmike 12 and Fairchild Cinemas 12.
Kung Fu Panda
Jack Black voices the character Po. He's a kung fu-crazed buffoon selling noodles with his dad. A kung fu master has a vision of an evil, near super-powered leopard escaping his prison and wreaking havoc on Peaceful Valley. An ancient prophecy says the chosen one will save the day.
A comic twist of fate gets the overweight and nonskilled Po chosen as the chosen one.
Kung Fu Panda is a kick from opening scene to the hilarious ending punchline. And it plays perfectly to the comedic vocal skills of Black. Sharing the mic time and the fun are Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogan, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan and others.
First-time directors Mark Osborne and John Stevenson also do a wonderful job of mixing near three-dimensional drawings with real-life scenery. Though they don't plow new ground, the animation is stunning.
Most kung fu films are simple stories with a simple lesson. Visuals punctuate them. Kung Fu Panda gives you both and some terrific laughs. It's the first truly kid-friendly animated feature of the year, and it'll keep kids from 3 to 93 glued to their seats and the screen.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 1/2 stars.
Rated PG for some mature themes. Opens today at the Carmike 12 and Fairchild Cinemas 12.