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Overall Rating
3.58

Awesome45.27%
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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Zoolander
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by Andrew Howe

"Still(er) crazy after all these years."
4 stars

Credibility, as anyone who writes the odd review knows all too well, is difficult to gain and easy to lose. If blowing two years of blood, sweat and tears is on your list of things to do before bedtime, you can kick-start your fall from grace by spending the better part of three months tearing apart films like Blow and Captain Corelliís Mandolin, sending the filmmakers the message that aspirations donít mean squat if you fall short of the mark. Then write a positive review of Zoolander, a film which aspires to be nothing more than a mid-level laughfest, but which achieves its goals and then some. Then try to get anyone to take you seriously ever again.

Itís a tough job, but somebodyís got to do it. By traditional critical standards, Zoolander is a film which has no business even being mentioned in the same sentence as the ďimportantĒ dramatic efforts noted above. However, the fact remains that it provoked more genuine laughter than Iíve experienced for longer than I care to remember, and if we accept that one of the primary objectives of filmmaking is to entertain then Zoolander has its esteemed competition squarely in its sights.

Iíd like to call Zoolander a satire of the fashion industry, but that implies a degree of literary merit that you wonít find in the script (this isnít Gulliverís Travels weíre talking about here). It is, in fact, a farce that happens to be set within the world of high fashion, but thatís no reason for discerning viewers to give it a wide berth. The likes of Hot Shots and Scary Movie gave the genre a bad name, since a succession of skits laced with puerile humour does not qualify as adult entertainment. However, Mystery Men and Galaxy Quest proved that combining a strong cast with a consistent atmosphere can work wonders, and it is precisely these attributes that account for Zoolanderís unlikely success.

Ben Stiller is one of the most likeable comics working today Ė he possesses a talent for self-deprecation that many of the big guns lack, and the sensitivity he displayed in Meet the Parents underlies even his most boisterous performances. Zoolander represents a significant departure from his usual stomping grounds, since the role of male model Derek Zoolander is a long way from the high-powered assault of Mr. Furious or the sympathetic Greg Focker, and fans of his previous work may find his effete vocal delivery and mincing manner initially off-putting. However, Stillerís natural charm, combined with the occasional knowing wink to the audience, shunt aside any misgivings, allowing us to settle in and enjoy his perfectly-realised portrayal of an agreeable airhead.

This is not a one-man show by any means, and Owen Wilson provides able support as Hansel, the heir to the aging Zoolanderís throne. Co-writing the script for Rushmore would be enough to earn Wilson my eternal gratitude, but his supporting roles in Armageddon (as loveable stoner Oscar Choi) and Meet the Parents (as loveable ex-boyfriend Kevin Rawley) proved that heís got the affable space-cadet routine down pat. In Zoolander he takes this persona to its natural conclusion, and there are scenes where he leaves Stiller choking on his dust (Stiller must have known this, and itís to his credit that he left Wilsonís role intact, which suggests that he has yet to fall foul of the star mentality).

The big surprise is Christine Taylor - when I heard that Stiller was casting his wife in a lead role I figured it was just another case of finding jobs for the boys, but she gives everything sheís got to the straight-man role of a Time reporter who finds herself surrounded by idiots. Her chemistry with Stiller and Wilson is something that million dollar salaries canít buy, and when you throw in a warped performance by Will Ferrell (the only good thing about The Ladies Man) as fashion mogul Mugatu and a few well-placed cameos, youíve got a cast whose unwavering commitment to the cause goes a long way towards deflecting the criticism which can be levelled at certain aspects of the script.

And thereís certainly no shortage of clankers littering the road to comic nirvana. It seems that Stiller (together with fellow scriptwriters John Hamburg and Drake Sather) decided to broaden the filmís appeal by catering to every possible taste, and this is why you will encounter such uninspired attempts at humour as a take-off of the opening scenes from 2001; a sequence where Zoolander visits his estranged family which will have most viewers cringing in their seats; and several feeble gags featuring Jerry Stiller (a.k.a. Frank Costanza from Seinfeld), an actor whose one-note shtick had outstayed its welcome before the 90ís were half-over.

However, Stiller takes great care to create an enveloping atmosphere Ė the pounding music and frenetic pacing of the early sequences draw you in, and the production designer doesnít miss a single chance to exaggerate the self-absorbed image of the industry (check out the dťcor in Mugatuís office). By the halfway point youíre fully immersed in Stillerís bizarre world, and jokes which would normally fall flat take on a new lease of life as a result of our willing suspension of disbelief.

And despite the scriptwritersí hit-and-miss approach this is, at its core, a very funny film. The highlights range from something approaching wit (Zoolanderís inability to pronounce ďeulogyĒ); patently ridiculous but immensely enjoyable dialogue (Stillerís reaction to viewing a model of a school he plans to build, Wilsonís monologue about climbing Mt. Vesuvius); and a number of set-pieces thatíll have you shaking your head in bemused admiration at Stillerís refusal to believe that thereís nothing he canít get away with (a ďboys just wanna have funĒ episode at a gasoline station springs to mind, as does a well-choreographed ďdance-offĒ sequence). Sure, itís about as subtle as being hit over the head with Hanselís razor scooter, but when itís as artfully presented as this itís difficult to complain too loudly (besides which, Iím too busy laughing to care).

Zoolander is an unlikely candidate for praise, but it delivers on the strength of impeccable casting, flashy visuals, top-notch production design and a script that isnít afraid to toss something into the air and see how it flies. By the time next yearís model hits the shelves itíll be yesterdayís news, but that, as Derek Zoolander himself would grudgingly admit, is simply the nature of the game.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5243&reviewer=193
originally posted: 10/31/01 08:32:40
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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
6/22/08 PAUL SHORTT IT SELDOM RISES ABOVE DUMB AND BORING 1 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
11/10/03 ???? DON'T EVER TALK OR SAY OR WRITE ABOUT MALAYSIA IF YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT. 1 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 Jůn Snśvar ”marsson 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 times...got 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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  28-Sep-2001 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  01-Nov-2001




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