Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

As a spoof of the fashion world, the only gag that floats is the obvious one - models are vain, self-centred and thick as a brick. Camp designers, absurd dresses, celeb acolytes come with the territory. Nothing new there.

Ben Stiller is responsible for Zoolander. As producer, director, co-writer and star, he has noone to blame but himself. Also, half the family is here. His wife, Christine Taylor, plays the love interest, a Time magazine reporter. His father, Jerry, is rather good as the owner of a male modelling agency. His mother and sister have walk on parts.

Copy picture

The humour exaggerates the worst excesses of Saturday Night Live. Jokes are delivered with sledgehammers attached. Subtlety lies dead on the steps.

There are two plots, jostling for the waste bucket. A committee of multinational suits decide that the new prime minister of Malasia must be eliminated, because he wants to improve the lot of sweat shop workers, thereby cutting the profits of dress designers and clothes manufacturers in the West. He is coming to New York in a couple of weeks. Who could be commissioned to carry out the assassination at such short notice? A very stupid person, capable of being brainwashed into acting on a preordained signal. Also, the killer must have access to celebrity shindigs. Who better than a famous male model?

The other storyline concerns Derek Zoolander (Stiller) and his determination to be voted Male Model Of The Year for the fourth year in succession and beat off the threat from Hansel (Owen Wilson), the surfboarding, scooter-riding, mountain-climbing new boy with the hippie magic. There is much posing and counter-posing.

Stiller scatters real live celebritries around the place to add a little glamour, while he prances about like a pixie on springs.

"I'm pretty sure there's more to life than just being really, really good looking," Zoolander says.

There is, but it ain't here.

Reviewed on: 29 Nov 2001
Share this with others on...
Zoolander packshot
Ben Stiller spoofs the fashion world and adds on a political assassination subplot.
Amazon link

Director: Ben Stiller

Writer: Drake Sather, Ben Stiller, John Hamburg

Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Christine Taylor, Jerry Stiller, Milla Jovovich, Jon Voight

Year: 2001

Runtime: 89 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


SSFF 2012

Search database:

If you like this, try:

Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy