You Don’t Mess With The Zohan And Diversity

I saw the Adam Sandler comedy “You Don’t Mess With The Zohan” the other night and I thought that I would make a comment from a diversity perspective.  The movie is about a Jewish counter-terrorist with the Israeli military named Zohan, which Sandler plays.  Zohan becomes tired of the endless conflict between the Jews and Arabs.  He fakes his own death during a battle with an Arab terrorist called the Phantom and moves to New York City to pursue his dream, which is to be a hair stylist.

After being turned down by several leading hair salons including Vidal Sassoon, Zohan gets a volunteer position with a small salon run by a Palestinian woman named Dahlia.  When one hairstylist suddenly leaves, Zohan persuades Dahlia to give him a chance to finally cut hair.  She reluctantly agrees.  In no time, Zohan becomes a real hit with the mostly middle age to senior female clients although there is some graphic sexual content involved.

To make a long story short, the Phantom tracks Zohan down in New York but it turns out that Dahlia, who is now Zohan’s love interest, is the Phantom’s sister.   Both the Jewish and Arab sides in the community eventually agree to band together to fight off a greedy shopping mall developer who has hired a group of red necks to vandalize their shops.

The movie is typical Adam Sandler with loads of comedy and slapstick.  There are a lot of stereotypical jokes about both the Jewish and Arab people so those easily offended should definitely not watch this movie.  In the end, there is a good message from a diversity point of view.

The point that convinced both sides to finally cooperate is that everyone who came to America no matter from which culture are all the same.  They are all people who are trying to make ends meet whether cutting hair, working in small immigrant electronics stores or driving NYC taxicabs.

This is a good message although it wasn’t really introduced until near the end of the movie.  Zohan eventually marries Dahlia and in the end, everyone from the Phantom to Zohan’s parents, approve.

In a way, I think that all young adults, especially of Jewish and Arab descent, should watch this movie for that message.  The movie is entertaining enough with tons of laughs and gags even though there is a lot of stereotyping and vulgar sexuality.  But Sandler does get the message through.  From a diversity perspective, we are different but at the same time, we are the same and hatred has no place in this world.  In fact, there are many benefits with diversity which is what I promote as a diversity speaker.

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