Thursday, June 12, 2008

To What Does This Refer?

the willingness of the American Jewish filmmakers to mock their Middle Eastern cousins is also a subtle, unmistakable sign of cultural maturity.

This film:

“Subtle” and “maturity” may seem like odd words to use about a movie that wrings big laughs from pelvic gyrations, indoor Hacky Sack and filthy-sounding fake-Hebrew and -Arabic words. But much as it revels in its own infantilism, “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” is also brazenly self-confident in its refusal to pander to the imagined sensitivity of its audience.

I suppose some Middle East policy-scolds may find reasons to quarrel with “Zohan,” either for being too evenhanded or not evenhanded enough in its treatment of Israelis and Palestinians. Did I mention that it’s a comedy? Seriously, though, the movie’s radical, utopian and perfectly obvious point is that the endless collection and recitation of political grievances is not funny at all, and that political strife is a trivial distraction from the things that really matter. There is so much hummus, and so little time.

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