The Hebrew Hammer Movie Review
In what can only be described as "Fiddler on the Roof" meets "Shaft," "The Hebrew Hammer" features Adam Goldberg as Mordechai Jefferson Carver, a.k.a. The Hebrew Hammer, a man who has devoted himself to protecting Jews against ridicule and to save Hanukkah from an evil Santa Claus. Original screenplay? No. Original story? Yes.
Goldberg, who has had plenty of supporting roles in his career, most notably "Saving Private Ryan," is great in the lead. He literally looks like Shaft, only he's white and Jewish. When Santa is killed by his son (Andy Dick), Hannukah-Christmas relations are frozen and a Hannukah smear campaign is put into effect. The only chance for survival is The Hebrew Hammer, but will stereotypical Jewish antics get in the way - or save the day? That was not meant to rhyme.
"The Hebrew Hammer" is pretty funny at times, especially in the first act as it attempts to make fun of everything Jewish. A young Mordechai gets a spinning top for Hanukah, while his Christian classmates enjoy bikes and other great gifts across the classroom. The movie pokes fun at circumcisions, curly sideburns, Jewish whining and more. Of course, the only people who will understand more than half the jokes (and the Hebrew) are Jewish people. Those who like self-satires will probably get a real kick out of "The Hebrew Hammer."
After the first hour, however, the movie tones it down a bit as our hero attempts to take down Santa. There still are a fair amount of good jokes, but the movie is noticeably front-loaded; the second half is a bit boring.
Another downer is Andy Dick, who once again proves he just isn't that funny. While he does have his moments, his style of humor just doesn't connect with me; more than anything else, the movie could have capitalized on a different actor and a different comedic style. Thankfully, Dick is offset by Judy Greer, who is hotter here than in any other movie she's been in.
"The Hebrew Hammer" is very funny at times, but you really have to be Jewish to understand a lot of the jokes. The second half is very dull compared to the first, but in the end, "The Hebrew Hammer" perseveres. All in all, the movie is recommended, though one viewing will be enough.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.