Writer/director Jonathan Kesslemen brings us this 2003 comedy which really has to be seen to be believed!
Adam Goldberg stars as Mordechai Jefferson Carver, also known as, wait for it, the Hebrew Hammer a man on a mission. That mission is to save Hanukkah from Santa Claus’ evil son, Damian Claus who has got rid of his father because of his continual Christian piety and now wants to eradicate the famous Jewish holiday for reasons best known to himself. Carver, in his role as the Hammer decides that this cannot be allowed and allies himself with Esther, the daughter of the Jewish Justice League to fight the good fight against Santa’s deranged offspring and save Hanukkah for future generations.
A strange mix of spoof blaxploitation and “Airplane” type humour, this is one of those films that on paper really doesn’t work at all, however on screen, somehow this insane plot manages to take on a life of its own and becomes a really genuinely hilarious movie. It takes no prisoners and lampoons everything it can get its hands on, so although it might seem to have questionable overtones, it is actually very well balanced. This film isn’t out to have a go at anyone in particular, it’s there to make the viewer laugh, which it does all the way through. Goldberg knows exactly what he is doing as the Hammer and plays his part to eye rolling perfection, while Judy Greer as the astonishingly named Esther Bloomenbergensteinenthal (yep, really!) as also excellent as well as being extremely easy on the eye.
While being an out and out comedy, the movie also has some wry points to make about society, and particularly the marginalisation of Jewish culture. There are plenty of stereotypes on display here but the crucial thing to remember is to not take the film remotely seriously. It is what it is and as a carefully observed spoof of 70s blaxploitation movies, it works extremely well, even deliberately emulating the low budget look of the genre. Try it and prepare to laugh all the way through, you won’t see anything else like this film in a hundred years and that alone makes it more than worth watching!