Zoolander (2001) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sexual content and drug references (appealed from an R)
Running Time: 89 min.
Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Christine Taylor, Jerry Stiller, Milla Jovovich, David Duchovny, Jon Voight, Donald Trump (cameo), Christian Slater (cameo), Cuba Gooding Jr. (cameo), Natalie Portman (cameo), Fabio (cameo), Lenny Kravitz (cameo), Gwen Stefani (cameo), Heidi Klum (cameo), Paris Hilton (cameo), David Bowie (cameo), Fred Durst (cameo), Lance Bass (cameo), Lil Kim (cameo), Garry Shandling (cameo), Claudia Schiffer (cameo), Lukas Haas (cameo), Justin Theroux (cameo), Andy Dick (cameo), Jennifer Coolidge (cameo), Nora Dunn (cameo), James Marsden (cameo), Spice Girls (cameo), Stephen Dorff (cameo), Anne Meara (cameo), Winona Ryder (cameo), Vince Vaughn (cameo), Billy Zane (cameo)
Director: Ben Stiller
Screenplay: Drake Sather, Ben Stiller, John Hamburg
Ben Stiller's first directorial effort in five years sees the comedic actor improving in terms of comic imagery, but taking a step down in comic execution. Zoolander is an occasionally funny film that could have actually been better had Stiller not decided to star himself in the title role and instead cast someone a bit more believable as a male supermodel type. That's not to say Stiller isn't funny, as he can be hilarious, but it's just to say he is not funny as the character he plays.
That character is Derek Zoolander (Stiller, Meet the Parents), the world's most popular male supermodel, who finds his career may be on the demise and soon to be replaced by the up-and-coming star model, Hansel (Wilson, Shanghai Noon). After becoming a laughingstock in the celebrity community, the none-too-bright model is recruited by a nefarious designer called Mugatu (Ferrell, Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back), and is brainwashed in order that he might assassinate the Malaysian Prime Minister, who cracked down on the child labor in Mugatu's Malaysian sweathouses.
I'm giving Zoolander a mild recommendation because it delivers enough laughs and diversion to entertain for its short 85 minute duration. As humorous as it can sometimes be, Zoolander would have been funnier if it had a little more meat to it, as it really stretches the jokes very thin by trying to make a 20 minute skit run as a feature-length movie. In order to do this, the film fills up the remaining time with some cameo appearances and zany hijinks between the two leads in their competition to be top diva in the modeling biz. Still, Zoolander is made passable due to its infectious charm and energy, and even the occasional belly-laugh, and will probably entertain most who are inclined to like films like this.
©2001 Vince Leo