Sunday, June 08, 2008


Written by Hombre Divertido

You can mess with the Zohan all you want, but under no circumstances should you ever pay money or spend time on this film.

In my review of Leatherheads I had touted it as the worst movie of the year. Zohan makes Leatherheads look Oscar-worthy. How the brilliant comedic minds of writers Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel, and Judd Apatow were able to take such a ripe premise, and spend 113 minutes yielding so few laughs, is in itself quite amazing.

In this disaster Sandler plays the Zohan, a superhuman commando who longs to leave the Middle East for peaceful life in the U.S. as a hair stylist. In a battle with his arch nemesis The Phantom (John Turturro, who continues to take roles that distance himself from a career as an actor), the Zohan manages to fake his death and make his way to America where he does indeed become a hair stylist and more.

There is little else here. The cast is talented, but even the usually funny Rob Schneider is left to chew scenery. Some of the bits would not work regardless as they just go on too long. The scene in which the Zohan is attempting to prove himself at the salon by insuring that no hair ends up on the floor is a perfect example. It is smile-worthy, but is completely overdone. Director Dennis Dugan, whose credits primarily consist of Sandler vehicles or productions, appears to be completely in over his head here, though the ultimate blame has to go to the writers. This material simply isn’t funny.

There are some interesting casting choices as well. Michael Buffer as the rich American trying to tear down the neighborhood where the Zohan now resides has the audience waiting for a “Let’s Get Ready To Crum-ble!” in reference to his career. It is equally disturbing seeing John McEnroe dance with his shirt off, and Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae) from The Facts of Life in a stage of undress. They did manage to make Chris Rock look unfunny, Mariah Carey look stiffer than usual, and give Barry (Ernie from My Three Sons) Livingston a nice role.

On the bright side; the cinematography is pleasant to look at, and the soundtrack is fun.

Young kids may find the physical antics of the Zohan amusing; unfortunately the crude and sexual content should preclude their attendance.

Recommendation: No, No, No! Being tied up and forced to watch Billy Madison and Mr. Deeds on TBS would be more enjoyable than messing with the Zohan again.


Written by Fantasma el Rey

The senior prom looms and all poor Otis wants is to take the lovely “Kim” as his date. He has the kick-ass tux, the hot car, and those wicked dance moves. All he needs is Kim and her family to say yes. Too bad Otis is a complete psycho and his prom was twenty years ago. So follow me now, if you dare, into the sick and twisted world of Otis. I shall be your guide on the ten-peso tour of the dark comedy, horror movie that turns the happy suburban sitcom world on edge as well as provides a new look at a played-out genre.

Otis, directed by Tony Krantz, is a clever play on the gore fest, teen slashers that most folks love and tend to think is what horror should be. It opens straight away with whom the serial killer is, how he tortures his victims, and why he does what he does to them as he catches it all on camera. After the accidental death of victim number five, we even get to see how he abducts the girls. So with that, we’re not spending the film looking for a killer, leaving what happens next the fun of Otis and why I kept watching for just over an hour and a half.

Otis (Bostin Christopher) and his new “Kim,” real name Riley (Ashley Johnson), he names them all “Kim,” begin to spend quality time in his torture garage, where he builds different makeshift sets to act out his courtship. He asks her out after the football game, takes her to a movie, and drives her around in his cooler-than-ice Trans Am. He is even proper enough to ask her parents for permission to escort her to the prom. What a guy, just a sweet kid really, who has gone a bit nuts after his parents have died and he is watched over by his older brother (played brilliantly by Kevin Pollak), who has a life of his own.

The family of Otis’ latest captive (father Daniel Stern, mother Illeana Douglas, brother Jared Kusnitz) decides to get involved as days go by and the seemingly inept and rude F.B.I. agents have no leads. The family takes matters into their own hands after receiving a call from the now-free Kim, who escaped on the hilariously sad prom night. So with Riley safe in the hospital and armed with household weapons and an evil, vengeful plan from Hell, they skulk off to the run-down residence of one Otis Broth.

Once inside the fun really begins as they wait for Otis to arrive after a long shift of pizza delivery. The door opens and the family rains down bloody havoc on the savage that abused and raped their loved one, torturing him to a brutal end; too bad it’s Otis’ brother. Oops. Once they find this out, the family of crazed killers must cover their tracks and stay cool.

Twisting, twisting, the story goes as Otis discovers the video of his mean-spirited brother’s demise and the Feds find out the truth to boot. But have no fear the Feds are hep and understand the wrath of a family in pain; they let them slide and do confide that if they could, they would do the same. No charges pressed and no striped suits to detest so all ends happily ever after, right? Wrong. What of Otis and his fate? We know he must avenge the death of his brother and reclaim his “Kim,” the genre demands this. Yet, alas my fiends that is a story for another film or is it?

Seriously that’s how it ends, well pretty much. I can’t spoil the very end of the film for you, Ghoulies, you’ll have to see it for yourselves. I do hope that Otis goes without a sequel though; leaving the film as it is gives it more meaning. A “part two,” which I do admit could be interesting if we get more of a back story about the original Kim, would put it in the same bag as all the other stupid movies it pokes fun at. I would hate to see it go on and on past its potency much like the horror films and spoofs that go beyond a second outing.

The uncut DVD has a few extras that are interesting like the audio commentary from director Krantz and writer Erik Jenderson. Two good extras to look upon are the “festive” alternate ending and the showing of the movie that Otis brings Kim to. Those two add a bit more to the movie as far as what Big O does to his girls and the alt. ending makes you wonder which is best. The DVD also includes a making of featurette with a closer look at what the cast and crew think of the film. So check it out I did and got a kick out of it once I got past the gore for gore sake's, which isn’t all that much anyway.