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A movie directed by Ben Stiller

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Zoolander Features a Plethora of Cameos and a Couple of Laughs

  • May 29, 2003
  • by
Pros: sorta funny, silly cameos, '80s music

Cons: repetitive, not very funny

The Bottom Line: Relax don't do it When you want to go to it

Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.

I had a cold the other day, so I wanted to watch a movie that was amusing enough to make me forget that I was sick, but not so hilarious that it would make me laugh (and, thus, cough). I found the perfect sick day film in Zoolander.

Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) reminds me of a character created by Saturday Night Live. Like all SNL skits, this one carried the joke too far, and I ended up getting tired of it well before the end of this feature, so I pray that there won't be a sequel.

Like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Zoolander makes the same joke over and over again. How many ways can they tell us that male models are stupid in one 90-minute film? Zoolander pronounces words wrong and shows a general ignorance about the world. However, his character is more endearing than the other male models in the film. Yes, Derek is stupid, but he is also earnest and wants to make a difference in the world by creating a school "for kids who can't read good."

"There must be more to life than being really really ridiculously good-looking," he muses.

Zoolander features a few funny lines, but I don't want to ruin what little value the movie has by reporting them here.

From Lance Bass to Natalie Portman, Zoolander is full of cameos, and the plot seems to be somewhat of an afterthought. Even the actual characters feel like cameos with Vince Vaughn as Derek's brother and Jon Voight as his father. None of the characters have depth, and Zoolander features one cliché after another including the ubiquitous son who wants to make his father proud.

One of the main caricatures (yes, I meant to write that) is the villain Jacobin Mugatu played by SNL veteran Will Ferrell. This greedy fashion designer wants to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia, using an easily manipulated male model as the assassin. In one of the few funny scenes, David Duchovny explains how many major assassinations in history have been carried out by male models.

Mugatu and his evil sidekick Katinka have brainwashed Derek to kill the Prime Minister during the "Derelicte" fashion show. The brainwashing scene was somewhat funny, but would have been better if I had drunk a whole bottle of NyQuil. Pretty reporter/love interest Matilda (Christine Taylor) has to try to figure out the "trigger" that will cause Derek to kill the Malaysian Premier. In case you haven't guessed, this plot lacks any suspense or real interest.

Mugatu has chosen Zoolander as his pawn because Zoolander appears to be past his prime and is, thus, disposable. After winning three Male Model of the Year awards, he loses the title to new sensation Hansel (Owen Wilson), a peyote-smoking neo-hippy. The two models participate in a "walk-off" modeling competition at an abandoned warehouse. With David Bowie as referee they play the modeling version of H-O-R-S-E to determine whose style is the finest. Although this was meant to be one of the crucial scenes in the movie, I found it to be boring and not very funny.

The one scene that I found relatively original and that almost made me laugh was when Derek and his model friends drive around town sipping fancy lattes and dancing to Wham's "Wake me up Before you Go-Go." Their fun is brought to an abrupt halt when one pin-up boy lights a cigarette during their gasoline fight.

Unlike most low-brow comedies, this one thankfully omits the toilet humor. Maury Ballstein (Jerry Stiller, Ben's real-life father), Derek's agent, almost heads down that road with his talk of hemorrhoids but stays in annoying territory without veering into gross-out land.

Keep an eye out for L'il Kim, Posh Spice, Winona Rider, and Donatella Versace (among others). It's a lot more entertaining to play find the celebrity than to pay attention to the actual film.


Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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More Zoolander reviews
review by . December 12, 2010
Zoolander, what can I say about Zoolander? Well, for starters, it's an incredibly fun movie that even if you try to dislike it, you can't. Another thing about it is that it is definitely an acquired taste. No matter how much I try to convince people that Zoolander is an awesome movie, some just won't believe me, and I can accept that, even if i don't personally agree.      For those of you who don't know, Zoolander is a movie about male models Derek Zoolander …
review by . August 27, 2010
posted in Music Matters
With preening self-importance and pouty narcissism already baked into the industry's DNA - torturing couture fashion almost certainly lacks good sportsmanship. Fashion has always been a satirists Piñata party so I was pleased that Zoolander went well beyond the clichéd "dumb model" premise to focus on the countless small affectations that make fashionistas well, fashionistas.      From the first scene where the shadowed, dimly recognizable outlines …
Quick Tip by . June 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
4.5 Stars: This Quick Tip is for those who are REALLY REALLY Good-Looking and can't read good... :)
Quick Tip by . July 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Possibly my favorite Ben Stiller movie. Some of the best one liners come from this movie and if you don't know anything about fashion...you'll still love it
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Stupidly funny, Ben Stiller takes us into the cut-throat world of male modeling. Will Ferrell plays an amazing villain.
Quick Tip by . July 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
super funny even though the actual concept its compleatly dumb. all of the characters play their parts so well its hard not to laugh.
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Campy done well. Ben Stiller and cast do an excellent job in this parody of the fashion industry.
Quick Tip by . June 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
"I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is". Took the words right out of my mouth... ;D
Quick Tip by . July 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I love any movie with you know who in it. I think he is one the best actors directors of our time right now!
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
this is such a funny movie. i laughed from begining to end.
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About this movie


Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Christine Taylor, Will Ferrell, Milla Jovovich, Jerry Stiller, David Cuchovny, David Bowie, Jon Voight
Directed by Ben Stiller
Writer:  Drake Sather, Ben Stiller

Product Description
Clear the runway for derek zoolander vh1s three-time male model of the year. His falls when hippie-chic hansel scooters in to steal this years award. The evil fashion guru mugatu seizes the opportunity to turn derek into a killing machine. Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 01/04/2005 Starring: Ben Stiller Will Ferrell Run time: 89 minutes Rating: Pg13 Director: Ben Stiller
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Director: Ben Stiller
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: 28 September 2001 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Ben Stiller, Drake Sather
Runtime: 89 min
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