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The Mass Media

Zoolander Review

Based on a character devised for the VH1 Vogue Fashion Awards a few years back, Derek Zoolander has become Ben Stiller’s fashionable alter ego with a feature film about the moronic male model.

The real fashion world has always been easy for jokes and Stiller uses that to his advantage, ironically, in a brilliant way. The film could be placed in the same category as films like “Austin Powers” because of it’s silliness but unlike the British detective, Zoolander lacks the gross-out jokes and goes straight for the gags on a mindless model. The story revolves around the evil Mugatu, played by a blonde-coiffed Will Ferrell, who is trying to avoid an increase of child labor wages in Malaysia so he plots to kill the prime minister of the country. Knowing Zoolander is clueless and preying on his has-been status, Mugatu offers Zoolander a job and goes on to brainwash the small-minded man to kill the prime minister of Malaysia. Since there are so many interludes of stupidity, the plot tends to get lost in the midst of catwalks, Zoolander’s exquisite fashion sense and trademark pout.

Stiller took no chances with his self-directed film and cast his entire family. Jerry Stiller plays Zoolander’s hairy-chested-tinted glasses-velour jumpsuit-wearing agent, who is just as crazy as he was on “Seinfeld” and “King of Queens.” Ben Stiller’s mother also makes a cameo as one of Mugatu’s protesters. After four other attempts to cast Matilde, the Time Magazine journalist, Stiller casts his wife Christine Taylor. This is not Taylor’s first attempt at comedy as we’ve seen her in “The Brady Bunch Movie” and “The Wedding Singer.” Taylor is, of course, the love interest of Zoolander once he gets past her sexual, or lack there of, history.

Owen Wilson plays Hansel, Derek Zoolander’s competition. While Zoolander sports snake skin (watch as he shows up at his family’s coal mine wearing a shiny new snake skin suit), Hansel is a more earth friendly model. First as enemies, Hansel and Zoolander come together to fight the villainous Mugatu which create some of the more comical scenes in the movie.

The film plays on the idiotic nature that the fashion industry is supposed to have but another reason the film is so entertaining is due to the amount of celebrities that Stiller recruits for this film. Milla Jovovich, Jon Voight, Lil’ Kim, Gary Shandling, Vince Vaughn, David Bowie, Claudia Schiffer, and probably one of the best supporting parts is played by David Duchovny. Duchovny, a washed-up hand model, tries to explain to Zoolander that the fashion industry has been behind every presidential assassination in the last 200 years. The theory Duchovny has is not only comical in itself, but the interaction between the three characters in a cemetary is one of the stronger scenes in the film.

Be prepared to see Ben Stiller like you have never seen him before. Usually playing his loser/good guy parts (“Meet the Parents,” “Something about Mary”), Stiller has taken on a role of the highly idolized Derek Zoolander who just like the film has a few ups and downs. Regardless, Stiller and the rest of the star-studded cast manage to keep clever jokes running around a ridiculous plot.