The world has been awaiting the definitive Hanukkah comedy, and after taking a look at The Hebrew Hammer, I can reveal: The world is still waiting.
I had such hopes for this one, too, and even managed to hang onto them for a while during the movie. Writer/
Hammer is pretty cleverly amusing up to this point, and the opening sequence — in which the overbearing obnoxiousness of commercial Christmas cheer is a real bummer to a little Jewish kid, and the attempts at, er, inclusiveness from the gentiles more condescending than anything else — might be required viewing for anyone who thinks that it’s okay to exclude minority viewpoints from public expression simply because they are minority. Goldberg exudes exactly the right amount of self-
But as Esther’s surname suggests, Hammer starts substituting cleverness with chutzpah, indulging in outrageous stereotyping rather than sticking with characters, like Mordechai, who were recognizably real under the comedy — his mother, played by Nora Dunn (Laws of Attraction, Runaway Jury), is pretty unforgivably screechy and awful, and her whole subplot detracts from the business of satirizing holiday insanity and the sidelining of anyone who doesn’t march in lockstep with the dominant culture. Kesselman ends up veering from ridiculous but pointed commentary into abusing and insulting those he intends to champion. Still, a movie in which a Jewish Justice League saves a seat for the “Chairman of the Worldwide Jewish Conspiracy” — which includes Adam Sandler movies — isn’t looking to be taken too seriously in the first place.
Gone to potty
I’m not saying there is a powerful worldwide conspiracy of Jews, of course, but it is somewhat suspicious that untalented perpetual kindergartner Adam Sandler has any kind of career. What else but the insidious machinations of globally interconnected schemers can explain the existence of Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights? It purports to be a heartwarming animated Hanukkah film for the whole family, but it is instead the perfect example of how juvenile toilet humor and offensive product placement can combine to form a toxic substance that should be handled only through a protective spacesuit with its own independent air supply. If you must handle it at all, of course.
Horrid. Horrid horrid horrid movie, so appalling you can’t believe someone actually committed some of this stuff to film, animated or not. Sandler’s (Anger Management, Punch-Drunk Love) Davey Stone is like a Jewish Hanukkah Grinch, only without the charm or personality of the Christmas one. He hates Hanukkah, hates Christmas, presumably hates Kwanzaa and Festivus, too, and he runs drunkenly around his snow-
The whole thing is even more potty-
And yet, in an evil cinematic accomplishment without parallel, one that must be acknowledged, if with a stunned, breathless disbelief, Eight Crazy Nights — which, honestly, doesn’t have much to do with Hanukkah at all — actually finds ways to go downhill from the car-