Rambling ...

I'm an Irish Girl, A Dubliner, with the 'Gift of the Gab' ... I like to talk & to tell you things. In Celtic times news, views and comment were carried from place to place by wandering Seanachaí ~ Storytellers ~ who relied on their host's hospitality and appreciation. I will need that from you too, as I venture to share Politics, Poetry, Laughter, Love, Life & everything in-between ... from Bog to Blog!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Hebrew Hammer!!

Friday Film ... late again!  Apologies.   An Appetizer for the season,  this movie is comedic, romantic, completely unorthodox and somewhat perverted .... kinda like me!  

It is filled with brilliant & bawdy humour & if you liked any of the Airplane/Hot Shots/Naked Gun/Scary Movie  films you will just adore it.  Intentionally reminiscent of the Blaxploitation films of the seventies,  the 'Hebrew Hammer'  is full of modern references as well as classic Jewish humour. The script is fast-paced and clever, and has some brilliant one-liners.  Although certainly not a film for the easily-offended, those capable of looking at Jewish stereotypes and laughing at them will enjoy this movie hugely ~ most of the lines become pretty memorable and if you are Jewish and find the content too risque for your liking,  you still have no choice but to giggle at the guys Star of David hood ornament & many other things,  like the Star of David spurs on his boots.   The Hebrew Hammer is a wickedly funny parody of the Blaxploitation  films, only substituting a Jewish hero for an African-American one. In much the same way that Undercover Brother parodied black stereotypes, the Hebrew Hammer mocks Jewish stereotypes by embracing them and laughing at them. It is funny ~ simply  Jewsploitation at it's best !!!!

'The Hebrew Hammer'   is the story of Mordechai Jefferson Carver (Adam Goldberg), a Jew who by the time the opening credits are done has grown from a tubby, victimized young schoolboy into an avenging, street-smart superhero, with a wardrobe and a theme song ripped off from 'Shaft.'  

When Hanukkah is in Jeopardy ....  A Jewish Superman Gets the Call!

 Mordechai Jefferson Carver is a tough talking, hard hitting, religiously observant Jewish private eye in the mould of Richard Roundtree’s  'Shaft'.   As the film’s Shaft-like opening theme song states, “He’s a complicated Jew and no one understands him but his mother.”   When Santa’s son Damien (Andy Dick) stages an extremely hostile take over of his father’s business,  he sets into motion a plan to destroy Hanukkah. Guilted into helping the Jewish Justice League (headed by an outrageous and almost unrecognizable Peter Coyote by his mother (Nora Dunn),  Mordechai teams with the attractive JJL agent Esther (Judy Greer) and Mohammed (Mario Van Peebles) of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front to stop Damien’s various evil schemes. 

Self-deprecating humour like this is a tricky line to walk, with the risk of becoming the stereotype you’re mocking high.   Fortunately first time writer/director Jonathan Kesselman (maybe necesarily Jewish!) guides the film with a steady hand and avoids that pitfall.  Kesselman seems to have studied the anything goes style of comedy of films like Airplane and The Naked Gun, and learned his lessons well.   By keeping his cast from playing their parts too broadly, he is able to accentuate the humour level of the film.  Adam Goldberg   plays his role as the tough talking Mordechai especially straight, never making his character a caricature. The jokes fly fast and thick and when they occasionally don’t hit their mark, there’s another already on its way.

Kesselman has also studied his blaxploitation movies well. Several scenes, including the one where Mordechai discovers his Jewish neighbourhood being overrun by bootleg videos of 'It’s A Wonderful Life'  supplied by the evil Damien, echo sequences to be found in virtually any example from the genre. Kesselman also acknowledges his blaxploitation influence with a cameo from Melvin Van Peebles, whose 1971 film 'Sweet Sweetback’s Baad Asssss Song', is considered the genre’s birth. 

My favourite scene ~ Shabbat Shalom, Motherfuckers!!

While watching I was so surprised at how little I saw coming. The fresh feel of this film is intoxicating & it on all levels worked. It left me wanting more, oh so much more.  You can only credit the director for so much,  it takes the talent from in front of the camera to really pull a film together.   And,  Goldberg was having a blast playing this zany, yet kind,  character that cares more about his faith than anyone in the entire world. His eyes told the story, and allowed me to really follow this "leader" blindly into uncharted territory.   The other staple of this movie is Andy Dick ....  An Evil Santa who also brings to the screen his style of comedy. He is notorious for being who he is, and while others may find him annoying, I only see him as comic genius a la Robin Williams.

Peter Coyote is also a scream as a 'Moshe Dayan'  type of Jewish general with a pitch perfect Yiddish accent, who is constantly eating bagels. Greer, the 'Love interest' is great & the rest of the cast is hilarious too,  including a supporting black cast who are there to defend Kwanza.  There's stuff here aplenty to offend everyone,  and don't watch it if political correctness floats your boat,  but for those who don't take themselves so seriously,  it is majorly funny.   If you appreciate South Park & it's send ups,  this movie will send you into ecstasy.  It's tasteless humour, inane jokes & dumb plot illustrate the silliness and the stupidity of racial stereotypes.  Pythonesque!! 

Perfectly paced, over the top, just like the season it portrays,  the Hebrew Hammer does for Xmas faire viewing what Spinal Tap did to the Rocumentary and what Austin Powers did to the Spy Satire.  'The Hebrew Hammer'   is not going to change the world or revolutionize the film industry, but it may assume the mantle of the perfect parody.  As it's poster introduction roared .... Part Man Part Street ~ 100% Kosher.    Watch out for the bagels!!



  1. A Certified Circumsised Dick!!!!

    (to quote a FB comment!!)

  2. Shabat Shalom, motherfuckers!!!!!!!!!!!

    Seminal Scene in the Movie ~ and reputedly the reason why Adam Goldberg took the part.