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January 24, 2003 - Image 74

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-01-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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1/24

2003

76

Find out

NAOMI PFEFFERMAN
Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles

A

Saturday Nights

cp, a (404 ()in

The baaaad-est Chasid in town comes to the screen in the first
"Jewsploitation"'film, making its debut at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

before your mother!

t one point in Jonathan
Kesselman's "Jewish
exploitation" comedy, The

Hebrew Hammer,

Mordechai Jefferson Carver strides
into a seedy skinhead bar wearing a
long leather coat, a black fedora,
peyot, a. tallit and an oversized gold
chai.
A chalkboard advertises beer on tap
such as Old Adolf, but the titular
superhero orders "Manischewitz,
straight up."
Then he crashes a bottle over the
bartender's head, whips out two
sawed-off shotguns and shouts,
"Shabbat Shalom, Motherf—s!"
In this outrageous world of the
Hammer (Adam Goldberg), the
Orthodox Jewish hero must battle the
evil son of Santa (Andy Dick) to save
Chanukah.
Call it the Jewish Shaft. The farce is
Kesselman's homage to 1970s "blax-
ploitation" films such as Superfly, Foxy

Brown and Sweet Sweetback's Baad
take away their power, the Hammer
Asssss Song
exaggerates every Jewish stereotype,"
"It's the world's first lewsploitation'
said Kesselman. "He's both ultra-cool
movie," says the 28-year-old
and ultra-neurotic."
California-based director, whose film
While Superfly in the 1972 film
premiered Jan. 23 at the 2003
snorts cocaine off a crucifix, the aller-
Sundance Film Festival.
gy-plagued Hammer sniffs
The Hammer, dubbed the While a chalkboard
antihistamines off his chai.
in this skinhead bar
"baddest Heeb this side of
When Santa pushes boot-
advertis es beer on tap leg copies of It's a
Tel Aviv," drives a low-rid-
such as Old Adolf; the Wonderful Life on Jewish
ing baby blue Cadillac with
film's
ti tular superhero kids, Carver arranges for
white fur interior (which
orders
Manischewitz, videotapes of Yentl to hit
resembles an Israeli flag on
straight up."
wheels). His favorite exple-
the streets.
tive is "G-dash-D damn it!"
The Hammer's idea of
But don't tell Kesselman his super-
talking dirty to his lady, Esther
hero is distasteful. "The movie is a
Bloomenbergansteinthal: "I want to
love letter to being Jewish," said the
have lots of children by you."
writer-director, a self-professed "nice
The film —. which also features an
Jewish boy from the Valley."
organization called the Worldwide
He says the farce is his response to
Jewish Media Conspiracy — is part of
Hollywood's nebbishy and neurotic
a new trend of in-your-face ethnicity
depiction of Jews.
touted by hip Jewish artists (think
Heeb magazine and New York's
"Jewsapalooza" music festival).
Stereotypes Galore
Canada's Globe and Mail hailed the
"J just
ust as blaxploitation films exaggerat-
Hammer as "perhaps the zaniest,
ed the hell out of black stereotypes to
brainiest example of [this] new wave,"

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