"The Hebrew Hammer"
Directed by Jonathan Kesselman.
Written by Jonathan Kesselman.
Starring Adam Goldberg, Mario Van Peebles and Andy Dick.
Release Year: 2003
Review Date: 2/2/04
The plot: A super-Jew named Mordecai (Adam
Goldberg) is summoned by the Jewish Justice League to help the KLF—the
Kwanzaa Liberation Foundation—save Christmas from the hands of an
evil Santa (Andy Dick) bent on holiday eradication. If Mordecai,
aka “The Hebrew Hammer”, can team up with Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul
Mustafa (Mario Van Peebles) of the KLF to successfully take down bad
Santa, all of us can go back to the PC-friendly holiday spirit that
we have grown to know and love.
My friend Mike “Yac” Iacovone said it best
after we, along with Cindy “C-Lo” Hunnicutt, left the theater on
Sunday afternoon: “We only get one good, funny, racist film each
year—if we get any at all—and ‘The Hebrew Hammer’ delivers the
“Undercover Brother” a couple of years ago, “The
Hebrew Hammer” serves up a 70s-style Jewsploitation film with all
the fixins: rampant, funny and sometimes just wrong Jewish
stereotyping; a funk-disco soundtrack; lots of sex jokes; plenty of
great sight gags, and a fuckin’ shitload of racism. The film is
rated NR, which I think stands for Nonstop Racism, because by the
time you meet the KLF members, and then The Hammer goes off to a
local pub where skinheads hang out, to a scene where Santa hires
Indonesian slaves to work in his toy factory (all in a span of about
12 minutes), you aren’t left with any races left to pillage for
Naturally, I soaked this up, and there were
about eight scenes for me where I lost my mind, it was just so
funny. Goldberg is having fun spouting off anger at every turn, but
he makes for a cool lead; Dick’s lines are almost all fueled by
hatred, so his profanity-laced tirades at midgets, cripples, blacks
and Jews mostly work, even if they get a little tiresome by the
end. The soundtrack is hot, as is any film that references the
“Indiana Jones” series and “Superfly” in the same movie. The film
has plenty of cheap jokes, but more high-end comedy scenes like the
first one at the Jewish Justice League where a chair for the head of
all Jewish professional athletes remains empty got some of the best
laughs in my theater.
I wish I had someone Jewish with me when I
saw “The Hebrew Hammer”, because I wonder how some of the scenes
went down for those that have lived the life; for an outsider, it
was quite funny, but the film has caught some flack with
conservatives who can’t believe that all of this made it onto the
screen. I think blacks and (some) Asians have an easier time making
fun of their stereotypes; I don’t think I have seen a film like this
where Jews are sent up for an entire movie’s running time.
Otherwise, the film is good, not great.
Rookie writer/director Jonathan Kesselman seems to let his actors go
on auto-pilot during some of the weaker sequences; the film looks
poorly shot at times, and has a couple of scenes that transition
poorly. The script periodically feels like it was written with five
or six hilarious moments in mind, and other scenes to fill in around
those money shots; how else can I explain an ending where the Hammer
tries to stop Santa from draining the Jewish Atomic Clock of its
precious “Jewade”, which only exists in the clock itself!
There are enough laughs here, though, to
warrant a run to the theater. This film was released last year and
has already made a run on Comedy Central, although that seems
strange since the film is loaded with profanity. Anyway, catch it
if you can...it is showing in DC at Visions Theater for this week
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard