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3.8 out of 5 stars
Zoolander (2001)
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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
This film is a zany, funny, irreverent look at the materialistic, superficial, and shallow fashion world. Seen through the eyes of the dense and singleminded male model, Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller), it slyly pokes fun at all that the fashion world holds dear.
Zoolander, a three time winner of the male model of the year award, goes up against the new kid in town, Hansel (Owen Wilson), and much to his amazement has his crown taken from him. No longer the toast of the town and already yesterday's news, Zoolander falls prey to the dastardly machinations of acclaimed fashion designer, Mugatu (Will Ferrell), and his evil sidekick, Katinka (Milla Jovovich).
It seems that Mugatu and Katinka want to turn Zoolander into an unwitting assassin whose killing frenzy will be triggered by hearing certain words of a song. In order to keep Mugatu's sweatshops running at full throttle, they hope to rid themselves of the prime minister of Malaysia, who is planning on abolishing child labor. An intelligent and intrepid reporter, Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor), who is also Zoolander's love interest, realizes, however, that something amiss is afoot. Before you know it, bitter rivals Zoolander and Hansel are joined in battle against the forces of evil.
This is a hilarious and silly spoof that is sure to make the viewer rock and roll with laughter. Ben Stiller is hysterical as the dumber than dumb Zoolander, who struggles to find meaning in his life after his modeling career tanks. Owen Wilson is absolutely endearing as Zoolander's equally dense rival, Hansel. David Duchovny has a small, but memorable, role as J.P. Prewitt, a former hand model. Jon Voight is funny as Larry Zoolander, Derek's macho, coal miner father, who is mortified by his effeminate looking son and his chosen occupation.
Jerry Stiller, Ben's real life father, has a pivotal role as Maury Ballstein, head of the Balls Modeling Agency, who claims to love Zoolander as a son but sells him down river anyway, when the chips are down. Ben's real life mom, Anna Meara, has a very small part in the film, as does his real life sister, Amy. Cameos by celebrities who play themselves abound in this film. Look for Donatella Versace, Winona Ryder, Billy Zane, Claudia Schiffer. Gary Shandling, "Lil Kim. Sandra Bernhard, David Bowie, Fabio, Lenny Kravitz, and Donald Trump, just to name a few.
If you are a fan of the Saturday Night Live show, Mad TV, and Comedy Central, then you will, undoubtedly, enjoy this original, silly, satiric, and thoroughly funny and irreverent spoof of the New York fashion scene.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Saying this movie is stupid is like saying the Sistine Chapel is pretty.

It doesn't convey the overwhelming epic nature of its' stupidity. This film goes for "stupid" in a colossal fashion. Swings for the fences.

But here's the thing: it's not dumb.

Oh no, not a bit.

It's actually an intentionally moronic tweak of "The Manchurian Candidate", with overt nods to "The Godfather Part II", music videos...

...Zoolander has been brainwashed to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia during a fashion show.

Derek refers to him as the "Prime Rib of Propecia". See? Stupid, but stupid funny.

There's a small role given to a guy who explains "the truth" to the whole plot to the two main characters. His casting is perfect.

The truth is definitely out there, and I giggled during the entire scene.

Ben Stiller plays Derek Zoolander, world's greatest male model. His real-life father plays his agent; Jon Voight plays his father in the film. His real-life wife plays his love interest. Owen Wilson plays the rival model Hansel.

No one with that sort of nose could ever (in a non-stupid world) be a superstar male model, which fits perfectly here. The camera almost lingers on that proboscis.

Will Ferrell again shows up with such a wigged-out performance that I would not be surprised if one day he is discovered to come from another planet. The guy's a loon.

In fact, I'm giving this an extra star (it's a good, solid 3+) simply due to the absolutely hilarious cameos sprinkled throughout the movie. Some may find this "stupid", but that's this film's raison d'etre. Come on...David Bowie judging a runway "walk-off"?

So realize that maybe only seven brain cells will fire while you're watching this.

Those seven will be pretty amused...
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful
I guess I ought to warn you first by stating that I am one of the few people in the USA to love the movie "Cable Guy" directed by Ben Stiller. That movie was panned by just about everyone. I subsequently enjoyed his move into leading man acting. In every movie he's been in, I think he's proved his ability as a comedic romantic leading man. They are in short supply nowadays too so I do not take his success in that venue lightly. With this film, he returns to writing and directing plus takes the lead role of Derek Zoolander, top male model. Derek is lacking in brains in many areas, although he can suprise you in other areas with considerable smarts. Although I generally don't like brainless men, Stiller makes Derek Zoolander work for me. The supporting cast is also marvelous. Stiller's Dad Jerry has one of the best roles, Maurray, his agent. He is LOL funny every moment he is on camera. The competitor male model, played by Owen Wilson, is also quite good. I thought I'd die laughing when Stiller and Wilson, in their dumbest character modes, tried to take apart a computer, expecting to find real world file folders inside of it. This all culminates in the high fashion show of "Derelict" based on homeless dressing in NYC. Whoever did Stiller's clothes for the Derelict runway show was a mastermind of wearable art. The coat he wears on his strut down the runway is incredible. I really can't imagine anyone's not enjoying this movie. I'm glad Stiller has returned to directing but not given up on the acting. He's at his best combining them both.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2006
I can't figure out which makes me laugh more: the actual movie, or the review written by Roger Ebert where he climbs up on a soap box and attempts to lecture the worlds on the dangers of terrorism before handing out a one star rating. I would think it's quite an honor for a film to be panned by the man who once trashed A Clockwork Orange, #46 on AFI's list of 100 great American films.

Honestly, this isn't the type of movie that will blow you away the first time you see it. There are some funny parts, but you may be distracted with wondering why Stiller chose his wife to play the token hot woman. But, like any classic comedy, this is the type of movie that just ages well. It's not a masterpiece that will spark discussions like The Royal Tenenbaums. It's probably not even the type of movie that you'd want to lie around and watch on a rainy day. But it's a perfect background movie. You know, the type of movie that comes on TV and you end up watching when you're just killing time. Or the type of movie you can throw in for background noise when you have a few friends over.

The actual plot is as off-the-wall as they come. An investigative reporter is looking into the life of male-models and eventually discovers a plot to brainwash Derek Zoolander and make him into an assassin, all for the good of the fashion industry. One of the funniest things about the movie is that the successful male models are played by Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson--who aren't exactly pretty boys.

The comedy in the movie can be pretty hit or miss, but you never get the feeling that the guys are mailing in their performances; this one doesn't suffer from a lack of effort. There are plenty of word gags reminiscent of Leslie Nielsen flicks. The movie has several appearances from well known actors like Jon Voight, Will Ferrell and David Duchovny, but what really carries it is the strength of the leading men: Wilson and Stiller. In the end, it's hard not to be at least mildly entertained. Any one who likes the stars should enjoy the movie.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2004
This was one of the many movies I went to see out of sheer boredom- not because I saw the ads and said to myself "Wow! I have to see that one!" Surprisingly, it turned out to be one of the funniest (new) films I've seen in a number of years. I'm not a particular fan of Ben Stiller's movies (though I always like the man himself). There wasn't much to laugh about in "There's Something About Mary" or "Meet the Parents", but Stiller's portrayal of Derek Zoolander, dim-witted male model, (along with a number of other roles) had me practically rolling on the floor with laughter. His dialogue and comic timing are perfectly fitted to the character, and his feigned accent is just icing on the cake.
I was especially pleased to see that "Zoolander" didn't delve nearly so deeply into the "gross-out" humor of some other Stiller films, especially when more and more so-called comedies seem to be following that path every year. To be sure, there were jokes about sex and bodily functions, but they were doled out sparingly and never came close to overshadowing the other, more clever dialogue.
Comedy is a tricky thing to critique. After all, perhaps more than in any other genre, quality is all a matter of personal taste rather than objective criteria. I personally found this film hilarious and enjoyable enough to watch again and again. For me, it was a rare find in the virtually endless sea of un-funny comedies constantly appearing in theaters around America.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 28, 2007
There's something about `Zoolander' that just tickles every funny bone in my body. Aside from one scene involving David Duchovny I swear this to be the perfect comedy. The pairing of Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell is just brilliance, utter comedic brilliance. Ben Stiller has never been so funny as he is in `Zoolander'. Owen Wilson had a great year in 2001, with his performance in `Zoolander' as well as `The Royal Tenenbaums' he proved that he is comedic gold. I personally was never sold on Wilson's bankability until I saw him here and realized he has the goods. Don't get me started on Will Ferrell. The man is as obnoxious as the day is long but I can't think of a comedian as funny or as entertaining. As the evil Mugatu, Ferrell completely steals the show away from Stiller and Wilson.

The film is a major spoof on the fashion industry today, poking fun at the high maintenance, vain personalities of today's socialites. In the middle of this fast paced world of hair products and wax-jobs lies Derek Zoolander, quite frankly the most legendary of male models. Derek sits atop the world comfortably, that is until Hansel comes along poised to take his fame and respect. Hansel is the male modeling worlds freshest face and his `cool guy' persona and `no cares' attitude quickly make him a hot commodity leaving Zoolander jealous and emotionally shattered. In this state Zoolander is particularly vulnerable to the evil manipulations of fashion designer Mugatu. Mugatu is fed-up with the prime minister of Malaysia and his promise to end the countries child labor which would as a result create a huge dent in Mugatu's profits. He orchestrates an elaborate scheme to brainwash Derek Zoolander to assassinate the prime minister at a fashion show for his new line especially created in the prime ministers honor.

In the meantime Derek also has to content with the intrusive reporter Matilda Jeffries and the sneaky Mugatu spy Katinka. Derek also has issues to work out with his own self esteem with regards to his father and the love and support his father refuses to give him because of his chosen profession. No matter how successful and famous he becomes he'll still only be a laughing stock to his father.

That and the whole turning left thing.

The film is filled with some of the funniest one-liners I've ever heard and has some of the funniest comedic performances to date. Ben Stiller is just effortlessly hysterical as Derek Zoolander, and he's only embellished by the great partnering with Owen Wilson who becomes Hansel in every way shape and form. Stiller's real life wife Christine Taylor appears here as Matilda and does a great job, as does his real life father Jerry Stiller who plays Maury Ballstein, Zoolanders agent. Milla Jovavich, Jon Voight and the rest of the start studded cast are excellent (except for Duchovny, I just didn't like him) but no one comes close to the brilliance that was Will Ferrell. One of his funniest performances to date! The film also features cameos by the likes of Donald Trump, Paris Hilton and Billy Zane just to mention a few.

`Zoolander' remains one of my all time favorite comedies ever and is sure to bring a smile, a chuckle and a slew of full belly laughs.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2002
Ben Stiller not only directs but stars as the dim-witted male model Derek Zoolander. Derek has been top of the fashion world for years with his trademark `Blue Steel' look. However, there's a new guy on the block called Hansel (Owen Wilson) who starts to steal his thunder. To add to his troubles his friends are all killed in an unfortunate playful gasoline pump incident and he returns to his coal mining family, where he receives a distinctly frosty reception. Chastened he returns to the fashion world where he becomes embroiled in a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia. BUT can dim-witted Derek foil the dastardly bad guys? Will he succeed in building a new school for children who have difficulty reading and writing and other stuff like that? And more importantly can he come up with a new look?
Its pretty tough to satirise a business that is already so clearly loony as the fashion world but Ben Stiller's Zoolander is a pretty successful ninety minute wonderfully stupid chucklefest. Ably supported by Owen Wilson, real-life wife Christine Taylor and real-life Dad Jerry Stiller, Zoolander is implausibly good fun, which is perfectly suited to the DVD format. It's full of excellent set-pieces and comic timing, such as the Walk-Off, Listen To Billy Zane and "What is this a centre for ants?". What's more it boasts some excellent cameos from the likes of Jon Voight (as Derek's coal miner Dad), David Bowie and Billy Zane. All in all this pretty much lives up to being `The Spinal Tap' of the fashion world. It's really good fun and you may even find yourself trying to perfect your own Blue Steel or Magnum in the mirror afterwards. If you don't like it, probably "you think you're too cool for school. Well here's a newsflash, Walter Kronkite...(extremely long pause)...you're aren't!"
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2003
I would rate this film somewhere between three and four stars, funnier than the Austin Powers films but not as zany as "There's Something About Mary" or "Blame it on Rio." This is Ben Stiller's "Citizen Kane"--he starred, directed, co-wrote, and co-produced this film--and it is his manic energy which makes everything work so well. In fact, Stiller is in almost every frame of the movie (as befits a legend of supermodeling) as the delightfully dim "Derek Zoolander." Derek is commandeered to be the murderous automaton of the evil designer Mugatu (Will Ferrel, in a crazy, poodle-topped performance), since Fabio is dismissed as "too smart" to be brainwashed. Stiller is perfect as the vacuous "Zoolander," and Owen Wilson's "Hansel" (what a genius of casting, Wilson looks completely UN-supermodel!) is a perfect comic foil. The gay sensibilities (perhaps courtesy of co-producer Scott Rudin) are delicately woven through the film, but of course ALL male models are ultimately straight, like all major Hollywood stars [wink]. Christine Taylor as "Matilda" has the difficult role of straight man to all the goofiness around her, and she is beautiful and stolid. Milla Jovovich sneers and snarls through her vampy role, Jon Voight is just bizarre as Papa Zoolander, and the brisk, 89-minute film is crowded with cameos. Stiller's vision is like a happier, less toxic, less filthy version of John Waters' universe. It is a credit to the sparkle and spontaneity of the film that the deleted scenes and outtakes are no funnier than what was left in the film. Sure, Stiller has taken on an easy target, but he has done it with tremendous wit and irreverence. Work the runway, sweetie! Give us Blue Steel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Because there's not.

I love this movie more than I can say. Where to begin. Okay, Ben Stiller plays Derek Zoolander, a male supermodel and recipient of the Male Model of the Year Award for three years in a row. The movie begins with Derek being profiled by a TIME magazine reporter the same night that he's going up for his fourth nomination against newbie Hansel, played by Owen Wilson. Now, that Hansel, he's SO hot right now, but Derek is a household name. Who takes home the honors? The newbie. Of course. Then, to top things off, Derek's best friends and roommates die in a freak gasoline fight accident. Crushed and depressed, Derek decides to leave the world of male modeling and go back to his roots. But how long will that last?

Beginning with the MTV awards right down to the final runway walk, this movie is hilarious! First of all, it's so full of celebrity cameos you can't blink or you might miss one. This includes the outrageous (and fantastic) cameo and a half put in by David Bowie. If you wonder why it's a cameo and a half, you'll have to watch to find out. Secondly, I have never seen a satire so completely willing to go anywhere and take any risk while completely making fun of itself at the same time. I mean, Ferrari, Le Tigre, Blue Steel... what more could you want in a male model? I thank TBS for reintroducing this movie into my life, and Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Will Ferrell for being so hilarious. When you're in the mood for a laugh, Zoolander will never steer you wrong.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2007
I have enjoyed watching this movie several times. It is a bit off-beat but hilarious. Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson are 2 of my favorite actors. The humor is "ridiculously" funny. It does have about 2 scenes that are a bit "risque" so you might want to be aware of that with kids but overall a comedy worth seeing.
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