British Board of Film Classification

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Type of media Film

Approved Running time 112m 39s

Release date 15/08/2008

BBFCInsight Contains frequent moderate sex references and one use of strong language

Director(s) Dennis Dugan

Cast includes Adam Sandler, John Turturro, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Nick Swardson, Rob Schneider, Henry Winkler, John Farley, Barry Livingston, Donna Feldman, Omid Abtahi, Shaelley Berman, Moran Atias, Todd Holland, Dana Goodman

Cut This work was passed uncut.

BBFCinsight publication date 05/08/2008

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN is a comedy action drama passed '12A' for frequent and moderately strong sex references - which are at times crude - and the single use of strong language. There are also brief scenes of implied sexual activity and glimpses of rear nudity. '12A' guidelines state that sexual activity may be implied; sex references may reflect what is likely to be familiar to adolescents but should not go beyond what is suitable for them. In one scene, a bare-chested man in profile seems to be thrusting at the rear of a woman in lingerie - that part between her head and their waists being masked by furniture - but there is, in fact, no movement. In another scene, a man - while washing a woman's hair in a salon - pours shampoo over her chest and she smears shampoo all around her cloak while licking her lips in a salacious manner. The sex references are hugely mitigated by the underlying humour and a general lack of aggression.

'12A' guidelines say that the use of strong language must be infrequent. In addition to one use of strong language, there is a clearly audible "Motherf..." with the rest of the expletive drowned by loud music. BBFC policy on language allows mouthed uses of 'motherf**ker' at '12' / '12A'. There are other words which are either not clear because they are muttered or delivered by deliberately mangled accents; or else when audible, are incomprehensible because they are either made-up words or Yiddish / Hebrew in origin. Examples include "Fagola / Fakwa" and "The thing is to tap you so hard so that your schnitzel comes out of your poopa.."

There are some instances of mild to moderate violence, all of which are conveyed in a style which is over-the-top, comic-book, surreal and silly. An example is the scene when an interrogator uses a knife to stab at a seated and tied-up prisoner at which a chopped-off prosthetic hand lands on the floor; the hand then walks over to the interrogator, takes his knife and stabs the him in the back, resulting in a small amount of bleeding.

Some of the humour relies on stereotyping. There are portrayals of and references to the over-protective Jewish mother, the Palestinian bomber, women as sex objects, the gay hairdresser and so on, some of which may cause offence. Like the humour relying on sex references, these are mitigated to some degree by brevity and the general lack of aggression.

Animals also feature. Examples include a cow being used as a punch bag and a cat being kicked about like a football. These images rely on computer-generated technology or else are edited in such a way as to give the impression of the animal being ill-treated when, in reality, it is not.


Columbia Pictures Corporation Ltd.
Classified date(s)
Main language
Submitted run time
112m 39s
Approved footage
BBFC reference
Registration number

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