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Zoolander (2001)

  Directed by: Ben Stiller
Starring: David Duchovny, Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Jerry Stiller, Christine Taylor, Jon Voight, Owen Wilson
Links: Zoolander on the IMDb, Official site, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy on DVD, Buy on Video
Genre: Comedy

This movie gets: 5.00 (3 ratings) Ranking: Ranked equal 153rd of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

Zoolander (2001) is also mentioned in mino's review of Along Came Polly (2004), pearly's review of Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004) and andy-j's review of Meet the Fockers (2004).

"I was riiiiight!!!!!" - a review by andy-j

My original review of Zoolander was less than complimentary. I found the entire thing a complete yawnfest, but I talked myself into watching it again because... well.. I wasn't blown away by Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) the first time I saw it, and it's now one of my favourite films. So maybe things would also change with Zoolander the second time around.

I watched it again the other night, and I pretty much stand by what I said the first time around (except for the really bad jokes I made. I retract them). Zoolander just isn't funny. The characters aren't funny. They're predictable and one-dimensional. The jokes aren't funny. The plot is an absolute bore. There are some ridiculously tedious scenes (such as the catwalk competition, or the brainwashing scene) in which my mind wandered. There is very little in the way of charm, and nothing endearing about the characters, which is what made the Austin Powers movies so great. Apart from the sparse somewhat-funny joke, there's just nothing here for me.

Here's my original review:

Some top-of-the-game model guy named Zoolander discovers that he is being used by his modelling agency to do their dirty-work to ensure that the cheap labour isn't abolished. I'd write some more but I'm just beyond caring.

This movie is a prime example of why I generally don't like comedies. Oh sure, there are some good ones around, but shit like this doesn't come close to qualifying. There's virtually nothing even slightly funny or clever about it, unless watching Ben Stiller totally overdoing the stupid swinging-your-shoulders model walk for 90 minutes is your idea of an intellectual experience. I could see most of the embarrassingly lame jokes coming a mile off.

The characters are boring, unlikeable and unbelievable. There is no charm to be found anywhere at all in this film. It's like a really really REALLY bad Adam Sandler comedy. Ben Stiller tries way too hard to do something along the lines of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), but his character is stupid and dull.

Oh yeah... and all the models are ugly. Particularly 'Hansel', who has such a retarded nose that I couldn't stand to look at him.

I saw a bit of this movie ages ago. I saw the one tiny snippet in the whole film that was actually funny and made me laugh, and silly naive little me thought to himself that this would be indicative of the rest of the film. I'm really annoyed at myself for hiring this out. This is truly bad. Don't waste your time unless you're 13 and can appreciate a good swinging-your-shoulders model walk joke.

andy-j gives this movie 3 out of 10.
Review last updated on Tue 21 Sep 2004

"Passable!" - a review by mino

Look, I know that I'm an arrogant snob. I look down my nose at the great unwashed masses, and the way they find amusement in mindless Hollywood drivel like Titanic (1997). I know that everyone probably thinks I'm a tool because of this, but I don't care: because it's true. Likewise, it's been a long time since I found a ‘mainstream’ comedy amusing. It's not that I consider them beneath me, or anything wanky like that: if I mainstream movie is good, I'm more than willing to admit it. And if it's funny, I'll laugh at it.

It's just that, you know, I don't find some dude having sex with a pie very funny. Sorry. Sure, thinking that something like State and Main (2000) is far funnier than Dude, Where's My Car? (2000) might make me a wanker: embrace your inner wanker, I say. Therefore, whenever I encounter what I would call a ‘mainstream comedy’, I go in assuming the worst. Alas, usually I'm proven right. Therefore, when I'm proven even remotely wrong, it's always a pleasant surprise.

I'm not going to say that Zoolander is a masterpiece of modern comedy, because it's not — not by a very long shot indeed. However, nearly anything even remotely amusing would have exceeded my expectations of Zoolander, so even an average comedy (which is exactly what Zoolander is) was a bit of a treat.

Zoolander, a story of intrigue and murder in the world of male modelling (no, really) pretty much exists as a star vehicle: not just in the obvious sense that it's an excuse to have Ben Stiller star in (and direct) a movie, but also in the sense that they've crammed in as many cameos and guest appearances from famous people as they possibly could. Normally, this would set off even more warning bells for me: however, in Zoolander it kind of works, and the fun of celebrity-spotting outweighs how horrible clumsy these things usually are.

Fashion modelling is obviously a pretty fertile target for stupid jokes, both visual and verbal, and they're pretty much all trotted out here. There aren't really enough to sustain the movie, and it sort of trails off a bit at the end — not coincidentally, when they stop just making inane jokes and try and have something actually happen with the plot. Too often, weak jokes let down a plot with a lot of potential; in this case, it's the total opposite.

Stiller is actually very good in the role of male supermodel Derek Zoolander, which was another pleasant surprise for me. Needless to say, he's totally over the top, which normally annoys me no end, but in this case it actually works OK. Owen Wilson is probably the weakest link in the cast as Zoolander's arch-rival, Hansel. A passable but not spectacular supporting cast helps the movie along a bit, with the one standout being Ben's dad Jerry Stiller as Zoolander's manager.

Don't get me wrong — Zoolander won't have you rolling in the aisles. However, there was a fairly steady background chuckle going on throughout the movie, which is much more than I was expecting. Not bad at all.

mino gives this movie 5 out of 10.
Review created on Sat 24 Jan 2004

"Guest appearance ahoy!" - a review by pearly

The film Zoolander was based on a couple of short skits that Ben Stiller did for the VH-1 Fashion Awards. Derek Zoolander (played by Stiller) is the most popular male model of his time, but Hansel McDonald (Owen Wilson) is threatening his position at the top. When eccentric designer Mugatu (Will Ferrell) hires Zoolander, it's not for his signature "Blue Steel" look, but because he wants to brainwash Zoolander, and get him to kill the Malaysian president (as he is heading a move to abolish child labour, which would mean bad news for the fashion industry).

Zoolander is funny. It's like a cross between Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) and Josie and the Pussycats (2001). It's over-the-top humour, based on accentuating stereotypes about different groups of people to the point of being ridiculous.

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson work brilliantly together - they play off each other so well, and have an obvious chemistry (it's easy to see why they continue working together, having previously played nemeses in Meet the Parents (2000), and going on to The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)).

If you're into star-spotting, there's lots to see in this film. From David Bowie to Christian Slater, there are many stars playing themselves, in spots that range from blink-and-you'll-miss-them to quite substantial roles. As well as these appearances, the smaller roles are also mainly filled by well-known actors. David Duchovny plays a fashion industry conspiracy-theory expert, Jerry Stiller (Ben's dad) is fantastically funny as the head of the model management company (though he always reminds me of Seinfeld's Mr Costanza), and Jon Voight plays Derek's dad - a coalminer.

If you're after some cheap laughs, you probably can't go too far wrong with this. It's not easy to impress me with a movie of this genre (stupid, over-the-top comedy) - there's just too much of it around. They're always the kinds of films you can happily sit in front of once, but will also happily never watch again. The good thing about this genre, though, is that unlike "serious" films that can end up trying too hard to impress (and fall in a huge heap), a film like Zoolander is almost always worth a watch. So, put your laughing hat on, kick back with a couple of friends (perhaps with some orange mocha frappacinos), and enjoy.

pearly gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 17 Jul 2002

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 3
Average rating: 5.00
Lowest rating: 3 (by andy-j)
Highest rating: 7 (by pearly)
Rating Percentage

Reader comments

  1. F*cking funny

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from dfdsf on Sun 07 Sep 2003 06:48 #

  2. FUNNIEST MOVIE EVER!!!!!!!! I love Zoolander, its not funny the first time so make sure u watch it a second time. also make sure u watch it with your friends because its a great movie to qutoe.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Gedalia Goomber on Mon 29 Sep 2003 14:45 #

  3. this is a great movie. yes, it is "over the top," but that is what makes it so clever. it may take a second watching to catch all of the funny references, etc. and yes, it is ridiculously quotable!

    Rating given: 8

    A comment from Amber on Wed 01 Oct 2003 11:29 #

  4. nothing matches zoolander...

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Wanna be derek on Thu 26 Feb 2004 21:38 #

  5. I love him in Zoolander! That was the best scene, cause he was in it! (The walk-off)
    Anyways, I love the movie! Ben Stiller! David Bowie! oh...and some other guy...I don't know his name.

    He is soooo sexy!

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from BOWIE IS MINE FOREVER on Thu 24 Feb 2005 11:18 #

  6. funniest movie ever

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from derek on Sun 28 May 2006 14:12 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 9.67 (6 ratings)

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