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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 19.4%
Average: 5.47%
Pretty Bad: 7.46%
Total Crap: 22.39%

11 reviews, 135 user ratings

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by DokBrowne

"A Lot of Monkey Business, Sadly Without Any Actual Monkeys"
4 stars

What is it about monkeys that smug, sarcastic geeks like all of you (us) here at Hollywood Bitchslap and elsewhere on the Internet (and, presumably, in real life too) find so appealing? Is it that they symbolize some fundamental, cynic-proof notion of pure wackiness? Or just that they're really cute and have a bad, easy-target reputation for being the subject of suck-ass comedies like "Ed", The Ultimate Tool of Bad Movie-Referencing Critics? And for that matter, what's up with "Zoolander"? I mean, why's it all, like, funny and stuff? Yeah, okay, I like monkeys too. Especially when they hug people, or flail their long arms all around. But let me say some stuff about "Zoolander" first

The latest from Ben Stiller, who in the span of less than four years has made turn of the century comedy cinema (not to mention his ubiquitous life on MTV) entirely his own, spanning from 1998’s surprisingly super-grossing classic There’s Something About Mary to 2000’s surprisingly super-grossing classic Meet the Parents, and is to today what Jim Carrey was to the mid-‘90s, what Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd and all those guys were to the ‘80s, what Jeff Foxworthy never was to anybody or any time, is expectedly funny, although the stupidity of his larger-than-life main character, Derek Zoolander, dips into the bin of convention one too many times (Stiller and his staff milk all existing and long-since hackeneyed male model jokes for all they will ever be worth). Zoolander’s patented “look”, the Blue Steel, is pretty much just a fey pursing of the lips, cocking of the head, and squinting of the eyes, and that’s the point. Thinking back on the movie, I find it impressive how Stiller manages to incorporate the look into probably every single scene he’s in, especially when he tries to tack it on at the end of dialogue, when it’s totally inappropriate and unnecessary; the guy gives 100%, even if, admittedly, his use of a dorky voice is unforgivably Adam Sandler-esque. Zoolander isn’t the richest of the comic sources – his schtick is misunderstanding things (because he’s dumb), doing the fatuous look (because he’s vain) and speaking effeminately (because models, by their very job description, are bereft of masculinity); he’s no Kevin Kline or Steve Buscemi, let’s just say that. Or this: he’s a caricature, befitting of his skit-style characterization (it’s easy to imagine Zoolander as a recurring figure on “Saturday Night Live” or, pardon me while I shudder and try to keep from bleeding through my eyes, “MadTV”). This limits his potential, as well the freshness of a whole feature length story about him, but there’re plenty of pitch-perfect jokes, surprise cameos, and loopy tangents of pure madness (such as the sinister – and gay – Mugatu’s disturbing hypnosis technique) to make you happy. As Hansel, Zoolander’s “extreme sports”-themed modeling rival, who’s quite possibly even stupider than D.Z., Owen Wilson is surrealistically cool, skewing the delivery of his lines just right, not going too far or lacking in any sense. There’s something wonderfully unique about Owen Wilson that’s developed beyond his writing (try finding comedies more caustic, dramas less pat, movies with as enigmatic a tone, than his and Wes Anderson’s Rushmore and Bottle Rocket) and into his acting. In spite of it all, too, he’s just so damn lovable. His “hey, whatever, I’m easy” approach grants him lots and lots of added appeal. He may be a dick throughout most of Zoolander, but whenever he shows up next, there’s just a sense of relief that washes over you. Mad props to Wilson. Love interest Christine Taylor, as the only member of a cast so full it puts the phone book to shame who has no material to play with (in a way ironic, I suppose, that Stiller restrained his own wife but gave wackiness even to bit partners like David Bowie and Fabio), looks quite pretty all the time, and, for what it's worth, does a number of believable double-takes and "what the hell" faces in response to the mad, mad, mad, mad world around her. Will Ferrell, playing Mugatu with one of the most memorable wigs in recent history, overacts like Martin Short on crack, but unlike that scrawny little bitch, constantly and fully amuses with his now typical "clueless flamboyance" routine (see Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and virtually every other role he's played in the last 4 years...all 700 billion of them). Cameos spring forth during the movie like machine gun fire, but few are anything beyond gimmicky. Billy Zane's was odd (but worth it, since I haven't seen him in any movie since Titanic (I do wish that weirdo Ed Wood silent movie co-starring Christina Ricci and a bunch of other cool people, the one that Entertainment Weekly gave an F, had been made available to me, though), and he's always been one of my favorites, ever since the ultimate triumph of filmmaking, otherwise known as Back to the Future, and not really an ultimate triumph of anything but without a doubt the best movie I’ll ever see, and fine, not really since Back to the Future, as I’m aware he had about as much of a role as the Doc’s in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but at least he can tell people he was in the best movie Michael Browne will ever see, and what I meant to say was: ever since Silence of the Hams...shut up, it was funny!), and you’ve probably forgotten how I began this sentence, so I’ll restart: Billy Zane’s was odd because he just stands around for a while (he deliberately enters the background of a facial shot of Zoolander, and then proceeds to just stand there staring at something). Winona Ryder was as beautiful as when she was being courted by Edward Scissorhands and coping with the shame of Cher being her mom. You know, before she gave up. But she’s just a “spot the star”. Christian Slater, he needed more time to get a laugh. Like a lot of actors who get no respect these days (Tim Curry, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Keaton, Christopher Lloyd), he’s one who’ll always be underrated in my eyes, worthy of so much more than that which his chosen path has brought to him. Cuba Gooding Jr., talking about afros. Because he's black! Lance Bass is...wait, what the fuck? Lance fucking Bass? Eh, even though he’s the most overexposed (along with Ryan Philippe, maybe) of the worst thing that’s still happening to the reputation of pop music, aka *Nsync, I find him the least annoying. David Duchovny follows Will Ferrell's advice and just replays his trademark, namely the...yes yes, let's all sing it aloud...conspiracy theorist. Unfortunately for Mulder, who's a whiz at the deadpan, subtle comedy, I think his career is absolutely, 100% pigeonholed. In the 500 years since "The X-Files" made him a household name, he's still making fun of/thriving on the familiarity of his Fox Mulder persona. Now more than ever, in fact, considering his self-parodying final seasons on that show and how his part in Evolution was founded on all the same ideas. Kind of like, um...well, I can't remember the correlation I was gonna make, but it was good! Like Matt LeBlanc (my favorite “Friend”, by the way) playing the doofus/phony actor time after time, or, no, someone more popular than him. Whatever. Garry Shandling also shows up in a couple shots...I wonder if there's a connection there. Milla Jovovich plays it too straight: thick accent, check, but funny lines, nope, funny behavior, nope. Not that she failed; she had nothing to go on, except for an awkward lesbian implication at the end. Vince Vaughn has no lines, which is the case of other celebrities in Zoolander, but the difference is that Vaughn isn't just in one quick series of frames - he hangs out for a few entire scenes, just looking vaguely disgusted. It's for a reason, though, and it's sorta funny to think that Ben Stiller cast him like that on purpose, so he could just look spaced-out. Jon Voight gets the disapproving father subplot to use melodrama as his wackus operandi. He's fun, too. Steve Kmetko, congratulations, you're in another big Hollywood movie as yourself, doing your real, Hollywood-reporter job. Nancy O'Dell, take your seat. Andy Dick, not only looking and sounding like Chris Elliott anymore but actually mimicking the Cabin Boy’s career path, dresses up like a hideous freak (see this year’s Scary Movie 2). No lines for him, either; I guess it was funnier to just have him look like an ugly woman. Gwen Stefani, who I've always thought was destined for acting (such a pure face), is another line-less pop-up celeb, but she doesn't even get any special attention. She shares her few shots with one of the main actors, so it's pretty easy to not notice her. Still lovely. Um, let's see, is that all? Tons of real models, I think, but I don't recognize any of them, and models have never made for entertaining thespians, so who really cares. And Jerry Stiller, who's fine, because he's less abrasive than usual. I only wonder, where was Janeane Garofalo? Oh yeah, I forgot, she never does cameos. Except for the "never" part, when I actually meant to write "always forever". What happened?

Stiller directs with a lot of flair and visual ingenuity, shows off his collection of well-known songs (that lovable "Wake Me up Before You Go-Go" gets played twice! To the history of pop culture, Wham! is officially no longer just the butt of a lame joke that Chandler once told on “Friends”), casts all his friends and family (except for, strangely - well, not really - anyone from his last directing effort, The Cable Guy), based everything on a TV-borne personality (this is so clearly one of those SNL character-based movies that I'm startled more of that cast wasn't around. C'mon, at LEAST Chris Kattan), and gets all meta/ironic on our asses with self-effacing statements like "Zoolander's looks are all the same!" that are followed by said speaker's conversion to the beauty of Zoolander's brand new expression, which is exactly the same, of course. It's a smart movie reveling in silliness involving midgets and Ben Stiller in blackface, smart in the sense that it uses a lot of "this guy is really stupid, huh?" jokes, and that it's all inside-Hollywood-we're-a bunch-of-pranksters. In other words, it's the usual postmodern comedy

Note: Ebert’s an idiot. As if my ire from him castigating both Charlie’s Angels and Josie and the Pussycats hadn’t yet been quelled (especially as I begin to recall his older spurnings of other Mike-supported winners like Can't Hardly Wait, The Big Hit, and The Wedding Singer), he goes on to curse Zoolander with one star, for reasons even worse: just because it uses an existing country as the villain, a choice he deems inappropriate in the wake of September 11th. Hey, Ebert? Everyone feels all passionate and somber about the World Trade Center, we’re all crusading for the greatness of America, whatever, how about not displacing (equivocal) blame on innocuous movies? Thanks. Sincerely, Everyone with a Prevalent Sense of Humor. Fucking dick

Final grade = B

P.S. Forget the satire. Today’s fashion world is vapid and fake, cell phones are too small, we get it. The movie doesn’t have interesting points, mostly just the funnies. Go with it, or don't, but let's not get bogged down in theme or social relevance. And Ebert? Shut up. In conclusion: monkeys are the coolest animal on the planet. I think Ben Stiller's next comedy should involve a monkey, and not a CG-one or a midget in a costume. A real monkey. Maybe one of those smart ones, like Koko the Amazing Bonobo or something. "Zoolander" proves he's not exactly on his way UP the ladder of high quality comedy cinema, so he should at least treat us to some "Monkey's Uncle"-type misadventures if we're gonna keep putting up with his and Chris Kattan's and Mike Myers' and Adam Sandler's formulaic, one-dimensional character sketches

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originally posted: 10/28/01 20:06:50
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User Comments

8/09/15 David An unimaginative piece of crap. 1 stars
6/18/14 Haley S. I love this movie! It's one of my favorite comedies. 5 stars
1/22/12 Kyle Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! 5 stars
5/10/09 stinky mcdoody idon'tknowwhoyouarebutzoolandreisaqualityflickandiamsorryyoucan'tseethat 5 stars
11/18/08 Ivanna Poopalot This movie blows dead dogs 1 stars
10/22/08 Shaun Wallner Hilarious Movie! 5 stars
9/04/08 Rachel Ben Stiller's best work. Seems dumb at first, but is actually kinda brilliant. 5 stars
8/24/08 Samantha Pruitt Hilariously stupid! sooo funny, Ben Stiller at his best (or worst?) 5 stars
7/24/08 Shigu22 Hilariously stupid, had me bending over in laughter. I'm little hot potato right now! 5 stars
12/17/07 SylviaP oh man, i loooove this movie way too much, way, way too much, lol 5 stars
6/25/07 johnnyfog Almost as funny as Dodgeball and just as many cameos 4 stars
3/31/07 Champs 07 An awesome movie! Whoever doesn't like this movie has no right to watch comedies. 5 stars
3/21/07 James Dunn Sadly, I can't go left either... ended my modelling career 5 stars
3/06/07 Dude terrible 1 stars
2/21/07 C One of my favourite comedies 5 stars
7/23/06 LuVeRbOiJoHnNaY THIS IS THE BEST MOVIE EVER! I watched this over 20 times! 5 stars
11/25/05 rebekah ison great!!! all those that say it is crap deserve to no longer be wanderin the earth 5 stars
9/24/05 Nadine Thompson A fabulous hilarity! It made me laugh out loud, causing the whole room to stare at me. 5 stars
8/17/05 ES The only worthwhile aspect of the fashion industry are movies like this one that smash it 5 stars
6/12/05 Gecko Fanfoot A lobotomizingly good time for the whole family. 5 stars
1/27/05 MyGreenBed Ben Stiller is one of the least realized talents out there, also one of the most overrated. 1 stars
1/04/05 tatum I giggled all the way through 4 stars
1/03/05 chris. this is not a "great film." but it's funny, and i love it 4 stars
11/24/04 [tRiAD] Absolutely insane levels of stupidity from stiller and wilson... what more do you need?!? 5 stars
10/29/04 .brittany. wow this movie is the best fucking movie ever! its definately a must see...WOW hilarious!! 5 stars
9/05/04 eva one of my favourite movies 5 stars
8/21/04 livid if you dont like this movie, you need a better sense of humor. and der e lick my balls 5 stars
8/06/04 DM Will Ferrell is funny; the rest of this movie sucks 2 stars
7/12/04 kitfo1 richly repays repeated viewings 4 stars
6/28/04 Jamie It's horrible the 1st time you watch it, for serious it's funnier the next times 4 stars
6/19/04 R.W. Welch Too far over the top much of the time but has some clever comic moments. 3 stars
4/05/04 Me Typical crap. Stiller still sucks. 1 stars
3/20/04 Julee Pooopward This is me FAVORITE MOVIE EVER!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/17/04 Jonni The best american comedy around 5 stars
1/15/04 ?!?! Yah this movie was halirious if ur smart enough to catcht he jokes 5 stars
12/25/03 sam mealer this is the best movie of ALL TIME!!! 5 stars
12/23/03 Chris I hated this movie. Anyone who likes it is stupid. HORRIBLE. TERRIBLE. DON'T SEE IT. 1 stars
11/23/03 amy a funny movie if you're clever enough 5 stars
11/17/03 mohd fuck the american +australian+brit.....may u burn in hell 1 stars
11/17/03 Joey One of my favorite stupid movies! 4 stars
10/15/03 Sarah Jane it was the funniest movie ever! 5 stars
10/09/03 Chase Nichole Funniest movie ever!! ...that Hansel's so hot right now, lol! 5 stars
9/17/03 Alex Listen to your friend Billy Zane, he's a cool guy!! 5 stars
9/11/03 Neil Forster Anyone who doesn't like this film does not understand comedy, and shouldn't pretend they do 5 stars
9/05/03 andrew tan stupid,stuipid,stupid 1 stars
8/14/03 MalaysiaBoleh Crap! A Malaysian prime minister who looks like a Buddhist monk with Islamic scriptures?? 1 stars
8/02/03 Double G The freak gas station accident was funny as hell 5 stars
7/18/03 Chris Are you all idoits this was horrible, An ambination to films. Made for people without taste 1 stars
7/11/03 Seabass242 One of the funniest movies ever. It goes way over some peoples head. 5 stars
6/22/03 Melissa I laugh my ass off every time I see it, this is possibly the funniest movie of all time. 5 stars
6/20/03 John Aster Habig dark satire Drop Dead Gorgeous with politics mixed in 5 stars
6/15/03 cynthia A movie that grows on you 4 stars
6/04/03 Picky critic Mostly a one-joke movie--even if that one joke is kind of funny 2 stars
5/16/03 Piz how do you go from Meet the Parents to this? crap, only saving grace is Stiller's dad. 1 stars
3/18/03 unknown any one who doesn't like it is a LOSER 5 stars
3/13/03 Roy Smith I actually liked this piece of crap. Pray for me! 4 stars
2/20/03 stevo i will answer your question with another question, how many abigidols do u see modelling? 5 stars
2/05/03 123 it's extremely dumb and funny 4 stars
2/04/03 Turtle Perhaps one of the stupidest films of all time, yet one of the funniest fashion parodies. 4 stars
1/22/03 Pinkline Jones About as Funny as a Baby in a Rotisserie 1 stars
12/23/02 ThereIsNoGod Funny... If you have Downs Syndrome... 1 stars
11/29/02 Fucker GREAT 5 stars
11/14/02 will "what is this, a center for ants?" 4 stars
10/19/02 Derelique I've got news for you, Einstein - it's funny. 5 stars
9/18/02 hum if you want to see a no brainer......... 2 stars
8/22/02 TheChronic Wait for it to come out on video and even then forget to rent it. has it's redeeming pts. 2 stars
8/21/02 Film Dude Really, really fucking stupid... but funny. 4 stars
8/19/02 Del Gas fight was hilarious... otherwise, Stiller and company are overrated 2 stars
8/18/02 P.Rodriguez Dumbass movie trying to be smart. Can't do neither. Pure Crapppp. 1 stars
8/13/02 blakers a great film 5 stars
8/12/02 .Choadushouse. When watching, it's semi-dull. But it sticks with you and you'll be quoting it constantly!! 4 stars
8/12/02 Jim Amusing and totally whacked. 4 stars
7/14/02 sdjfsdkjf that goddamn voice. Not funny. 2 stars
6/16/02 The Bomb 69 so disappointing, I love stupid humor and Ben Stiller but this movie WAS NOT FUNNY 2 stars
5/27/02 Amy Suprising, fucked up and funny. 4 stars
5/19/02 Chowie u can read minds? 5 stars
5/18/02 Jake What a piece of trash. gas fight only funny scene 1 stars
4/23/02 Dude... This movie was HILARIOUS! What are you bitches talking about? No sense of humor obviously! 5 stars
4/22/02 koogles Really funny satire. The gas station scene is classic. 4 stars
4/21/02 Kendall Kramer i loved the movie, its the freakin BEST MOVIE EVER!! besides Ace Ventura Pet Detective 5 stars
4/08/02 George Not the intelligent stupidity it's made out to be. Not funny, not interesting. 1 stars
4/06/02 trashi this movie is one of those movies that u can watch over and over and never get tired of it 5 stars
4/03/02 Edfink Lombardo Should have been funny, but it missed its mark...bland, run of the mill, complete garbage 1 stars
4/02/02 bobbuttons i loved it 5 stars
4/01/02 Joe Schulz I came back from the dead to kill myself 1 stars
3/28/02 Stickypaws I think Zoolander ROCKED, It was really funny too. 5 stars
3/24/02 phantom its o.k., owen wilson makes the show imop 4 stars
3/22/02 Mr. Hat (I'm Back) Zoolander is awesome. Almost as funny as "Dumb and Dumber" and it's really fun! 5 stars
3/13/02 Spyguy2 The ultimate 3-star comedy (out of 5)...nothing more, nothing less 3 stars
3/02/02 Chowie You can read minds? 5 stars
2/26/02 Butterbean Stiller took a great idea and fumbled it. A nice surprise to see Billy Zane in a cameo. 2 stars
2/09/02 Kent Millard UNBELIEVEABLY BAD. No redeeming qualities at all - and I am a Ben Stiller fan. Really sucks 1 stars
1/14/02 jawsboy Stupid, funny, entertaining, dull.??? It was fun, but not great. kinda like austin powers. 4 stars
12/19/01 Jón Snævar Ómarsson THE MOVIE IS GREAT AND FUNNY 5 stars
12/10/01 Tam Hilarious satire on the fashion industry. Top star cameos. Loved the orgy scene best! 5 stars
12/01/01 officer412/l Zoolander. Poolander more like. 2 stars
11/12/01 Fabio too much stupid, nothing to laft 1 stars
11/03/01 Felicity Wilson This movie is just a bit of fun. People shouldnt take it so seriously. Get a life! 5 stars
11/03/01 moviegoer i laughed SO hard!!! hilariously funny in just the way you want on a hard day 5 stars
10/31/01 livedarryl Definitely my next Austin Powers. Gotta buy the DVD...Laughed through the entire movie! 5 stars
10/30/01 Greg Nixon So stupid it's hilarious, Ben Stiller is fucking funny! 5 stars
10/29/01 daniboy sorta funny (not that much) 3 stars
10/22/01 Brad Not the worst movie ever, but close. I liked the Godfather and 2001 references. 2 stars
10/20/01 Thor-Leo yawn 2 stars
10/16/01 Brad this movie was obviously hilarious 5 stars
10/15/01 Gary I smiled a few pretty bored. 2 stars
10/14/01 Gia Carangi You guys are too easily amused. This movie had a cute plot, but lame jokes! 2 stars
10/13/01 Bill Cosby Fuck HSG,VerbalK, HasBen Stiller, Ron, Jake and KCobain THIS MOVIE WAS REALLY FUNNY 5 stars
10/11/01 HSG Yet another piece of shit from Hollywood for the ignorant audience. 1 stars
10/11/01 VerbalK What exactly was the joke. Unfunny, predictable and full of uninteresting cameos. 1 stars
10/10/01 k259it3ss zoolander was the funniest movie ever will ferell and ben stiller were hilarious 5 stars
10/10/01 ajay I laughed my ass off... 5 stars
10/10/01 HasBen Stiller shit 1 stars
10/08/01 ntwrage funny as hell, see it twice. 5 stars
10/07/01 KCobain Only highlight was orange frappucino part. Not much else is funny. 2 stars
10/04/01 Fish Eye One of the best comedies in the past few years. Laughed my ass off! 5 stars
10/03/01 Butterbean A great idea, but a dry execution. The funniest thing about it is Wilson's fucked up nose. 2 stars
10/02/01 asdfk; Some good scenes, but felt let-down overall 3 stars
10/02/01 T-Rev I love the orange mocha frapachino, and the orgy, and the walk off,oh shit this flim ruled! 5 stars
10/02/01 Jeff and the greatness just come enjoy this movie and.... relax.... puhahahahahahaha!!!!!! 5 stars
10/02/01 RK Bad, bad and more bad!!! 1 stars
10/01/01 Caiphn The hypnosis scene changed my life. 4 stars
9/30/01 Asstretcher Yes...very good! congradulatory ovations Mr. Zoolander 4 stars
9/30/01 Benjamin Lesbian Humorous, but not laugh-out-loud-funny 3 stars
9/29/01 spaceworm Read Ebert on this one. It's the kind of thing he won his Prize for. 1 stars
9/29/01 Scott Swain If you don't get this movie is making fun of the shallow sideof our culture... 5 stars
9/25/01 Joel Morford ben stiller has never been funier.this film was great it"s just silly fucking fun I loved i 5 stars
9/25/01 Jekyll That's okay Brown Bomber, you wouldn't know your dick if you were sucking on it. 5 stars
9/13/01 Sheree Mathiesen I think it would be great and a funny movie it would be 4 stars
8/31/01 disco the b.z., v.v., and j.v. cameos alone make this flick rock. 5 stars
7/31/01 cleo ace 5 stars
6/11/01 megan badass flick 5 stars
4/02/01 R.P. hit by a car rules I do the jitterbug into the King's mom's bedroom for some awesome erotic bloodletting 5 stars
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  28-Sep-2001 (PG-13)



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