Sandler is arguably one of the smartest movie moguls in Hollywood. As a writer/star/producer he knows exactly who his audience is and gives them exactly what they want and expect--for better or worse. In this case it’s slightly better than most. He is Zohan a super-skilled super-buff--and many times super-naked--Israeli Mossad agent who can stop the bad guys with one swift kick and woo the ladies with his amazing butt muscles. But he’s tired of fighting and secretly wants to be a hair stylist so he fakes his death and heads to New York under the alias “Scrappy Coco” to live out his dream. Of course his past catches up with him especially after he gets a job at a salon run by the beautiful Dalia (Emmanuelle Chriqui) who also happens to be Palestinian. No matter he is soon a huge success with the older lady clientele for his er unique sensual hairstyling techniques if you get my meaning. But Zohan’s past eventually catches up to him just as he realizes he can’t make the “bang boom” with anyone else but Dalia. Adam Sandler can just add Zohan to his repertoire. Actually it’s been awhile since we’ve seen Sandler play someone this over-the-top--and it’s kind of refreshing. The actor obviously had to really work out to get the Zohan physique and he puts himself out there quite literally in more ways than one. (Disco dancing while barbequing fish in the nude is gutsy!) Sandler also enlists the help of some of his cronies particularly Rob Schneider who plays a Palestinian cab driver of all things. Nah that shouldn’t piss off anyone. Chriqui from HBO’s Entourage is very cute and a worthy love interest but it’s really all the older ladies who get the true benefits of Zohan’s mojo including Lainie Kazan playing the mother of one of Zohan’s friends. And then there’s John Turturro who sheds all seriousness as a known terrorist and Zohan’s nemesis The Phantom. I guess after he did Transformers Turturro figures he can keep up the silly antics. Sandler also teams up once again with his old director pal Dennis Dugan--the same guy who has guided Sandler in his hit comedies Big Daddy and Happy Gilmore. Obviously it’s a synergy that works but Dugan usually doesn’t have to do much more than point the camera. With Zohan however Dugan has to incorporate some special effects (Zohan flying through the air for example) as well as some action stunts. It looks like they had more fun this time around. But of course with any Sandler movie it’s all about the comedy so Sandler doesn’t hedge any bets collaborating with another old friend and SNL alum Robert Smigel along with the master of comedy these days Judd Apatow. Zohan has many signature Sandler moments and true-blue fans should be pleased. If you’re not a fan however you might still enjoy some of it--even if you roll your eyes.
September 16, 2005 5:05am EST
The socially inept Elizabeth Masterson (Reese Witherspoon) is a workaholic doctor who never leaves the hospital. Her married sister Abby (Dina Waters) tries in vain to set up with a good man to no avail. But fate is about to intervene. On her way home from a long shift Elizabeth gets into a head-on collision with a semi-truck and suddenly the lines between life and death are blurred. Jumping forward we meet David Abbott (Mark Ruffalo) a guy wallowing in self-pity from the death of his wife two years earlier who to find some solitude moves into a fabulous furnished apartment. What he doesn't know is the previous tenant hasn't left not really. That's right it was Elizabeth's apartment and for whatever reason (seriously they don't entirely explain it) Elizabeth--or her spirit I guess--hasn't grasped the idea that she is in well limbo. Only David can see her of course as she yells at him for leaving sweat rings on the coffee table but Elizabeth eventually grows on him. She elicits his help in finding out what happened to her and with a little help from the eccentric Darryl (Jon Heder) a bookstore employee who has the gift for sensing spirits David and Elizabeth find that heaven and earth are not really that far apart.
As our romantic pair Witherspoon and Ruffalo do an adequate job adhering to the staid romantic comedy formula. Witherspoon is one of the more consistent comedic actresses these days and has the sweet but controlling ingénue routine down to a science. But it may be time for her to take a break from the standard fare and head back to the indies getting down and dirty like she did in Election. Ruffalo does a pretty impressive job for his second time as the romantic lead. As he did with 13 Going on 30 Ruffalo at least tries to add some quirky twists to a boring character. Still he should also probably stick to showcasing his dramatic acting talent in cool indies much like he did in You Can Count on Me. It's Heaven's side characters who have all the fun. Waters (The Haunted Mansion) does a nice turn as the caring sister who's own hectic life as a mother of two rambunctious kids always seems to interfere with what she's doing. Donal Logue (TV's Grounded For Life) as David's therapist best friend too has a fun time yuking it up. But the real standout in an otherwise dull universe is Napoleon Dynamite himself Jon Heder in his second feature film. He's still a geek but at least this time he's a mystical one who knows a thing or two about wandering spirits. Of course he also gets the best lines: "I'm 99.9 percent parched here. I need a cola." I'm going to use that one from now on.
As the director of the satirical Mean Girls and the cutesy Freaky Friday Mark Waters may be out of his element with an out and out romantic comedy. The initial idea about a women whose stuck in the spirit world until she finds the true love she never sought after in life is somewhat intriguing. But rather than play with that the film just ends up your standard romantic comedy while also stealing from other films such as Ghost and The Sixth Sense. Just Like Heaven also has some serious logistical flaws. For example seeing how Elizabeth is supposed to be a ghost--that she can't touch anything tangible and can walk through walls tables and just about anything else--she is later seen laying on top of a table. It doesn't make sense as to how she can walk through it at one moment and be on it the next. And the fact you are paying attention to these inconsistencies means you just aren't caring that much about the rest of the film.
She's not a little girl anymore: pop diva Britney Spears and boyfriend, 'N Sync lead singer Justin Timberlake, were seen steaming up the dance floor Sunday at the chic Cheetah nightclub in New York, according to The Post. The couple were celebrating singer Inaya Day's new release "Can't Stop Dancing" and stayed at the club well past 4 a.m. In related news, Spears' adult image is certainly popular with fans, as an X-rated T-shirt featuring her and fellow pop diva Christina Aguilera has become a top seller for 2001 at a leading retailer, Sky News reports.
Oscar-winning producer Julia Phillips, best known for such '70s hits as The Sting (1973), Taxi Driver (1976) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), died of cancer Monday in her Hollywood home. She was 57. Two children, Kate and Matthew, survive Phillips.
John Corbett, who plays the hunk Aidan on the hit HBO series Sex in the City, says he can't give away any secrets about next season, especially whether Aidan will end up marrying Carrie, played by Sarah Jessica Parker--not even to his family. Corbett told The Associated Press, "You have to watch it just like my mom."
Ron Howard's film A Beautiful Mind, based on a book by Sylvia Nassar about real-life Nobel Prize winner John Nash Jr., omitted one important fact: Nash's bisexuality. Russell Crowe commented to Entertainment Weekly, "It was relevant to his character, but we didn't want to imply that there was any possibility that schizophrenia and homosexuality are related."
Showtime's Queer as Folk, the cable channel highest-rated series, which details the lives of a group of gay men, has been renewed for a second season, beginning Jan. 6. Creators Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, who feared the conservative public would rail against their show, which involves sexual explicit scenes, have received mostly positive feedback from fans.
Funky R&B singer Macy Gray claims it's "impossible" to describe herself in one word. Gray told Rosie O'Donnell in Rosie magazine if she could change one thing about herself it would be her feet. "I wish [they] were smaller."
CBS has won the ratings race for the holiday week ending Dec. 31 with powerhouse episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Survivor: Africa. NBC won the 18-49 demographic with encore showings of It's a Wonderful Life and reruns of their hit series, including Friends and The West Wing.
Sony Corp will be paying over $70 million for nearly all of the international distribution rights to the third cyborg installment Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film, already the most expensive film to be greenlit for production at $170 million, begins shooting in April.
David Lynch's twisted Mulholland Drive and Christopher Nolan's quirky Memento tied for the Online Film Critics Society's best film of 2001. Other accolades went to Lynch as best director for Mulholland Drive and Billy Bob Thornton for best actor in The Man Who Wasn't There.
USA Network has given a 22-episode order to a new series The Dead Zone, based on Stephen King's novel of the same name and set to star Anthony Michael Hall. The cable channel will pay close to $1 million per episode, making it one of the richest series deal to date.
CNN's legal affairs analyst Greta Van Susteren will be jumping ship and heading to bitter rival Fox News Channel, a CNN spokesman confirmed Wednesday. Van Susteren's popular CNN show The Point will continue with CNN Capitol Hill correspondent Kate Snow replacing Van Susteren for the time being.