“Zoolander” brings laughs to the cat-walk

By on October 11, 2001

Whatever you can think of, “Zoolander” has it. The slapstick comedy, directed by star Ben Stiller, has celebrities, explosions, laughs, heart, evil fashion designers, poodles, midgets, and Frappuccinos. It does lack a solid plot however.
Ben Stiller stars as Derek Zoolander, the world’s most famous and dim-witted male super model. After losing the title of Male Model of the Year at the VH1 Fashion Awards, a title he has consecutively held for three years, Derek finds himself wandering around Times Square wondering if there is more to life than just good looks.
Eventually, Zoolander decides to retire from the modeling industry after witnessing the death of his three modeling friends in a surprising, yet extremely hilarious freak-accident. After announcing his retirement, Derek is informed by his wacky manager Maury Ballstein, played by Ben’s father Jerry Stiller. He tells the model that he is being sought after by world-famous fashion designer Jacobin Mugatu (Will Ferrell) to star in a fashion show for his new line of clothing.
Mugatu, currently under investigation for reports of using sweatshops in Malaysia to manufacture his clothing, finally gets an unsuspecting Zoolander to accept his proposal. Soon after, Derek finds himself brainwashed and unknowingly involved in Mugatu’s plan to end child labor laws and free the fashion world by assassinating the Malaysian Prime Minister.
Stiller, who not only stars in the film but also wrote, directed and produced it with Drake Sather, gives a strong and extremely hilarious performance as the vain Derek Zoolander. He presents his character almost as a male Marilyn Monroe, complete with runway stride, pursed lips, and a soft sexy voice. Continually the audience is kept laughing with Zoolander’s trademark modeling “looks,” given such names as “Blue Steal,” “La Tigre,” and “Magnum.” Although Zoolander is not the sharpest tool in the shed, Stiller gives him just enough charm and appeal to make audiences adore him.
Owen Wilson also gives an outstanding performance as Zoolander’s nemesis, up-and-coming supermodel Hansel. He proves to be quite the scene-stealer as he and Stiller make the ideal on-screen duo, providing the audiences with entertaining banter and an absolutely hilarious “walk off.”
Will Ferrell, “known for his “Saturday Night Live” comedy sketches as the Spartan male cheerleader, is a perfect choice playing the eccentric designer Mugatu. The character’s claim to fame is the invention of the piano key tie. His bleach blond outlandish hair-do, crazy antics, and frumpy poodle sidekick alone make the audience burst out laughing at the mere sight of him. He definitely is the better choice for the role, over first pick comedian Andy Dick.
“Zoolander” is not only a comedy, but also a family collaboration for director Stiller. His father, Jerry Stiller, famous for his role in classic “Seinfeld” sitcom episodes as George Costanzo’s hollering father, plays Zoolander’s manager Maury Ballstein. Stiller’s wife Christine Taylor, who has starred as Drew Barrymore’s sister in 1998’s “The Wedding Singer,” plays an uptight investigative reporter and Zoolander’s love interest, Matilda Jefferies. His mother, Anna Meara, also makes a minor cameo appearance in the film.
If celebrity is something you are looking for, “Zoolander” is packed full with star-studded cameos. The film features appearances by Winona Rider, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, David Bowie, Fabio, Tommy Hilfiger and Vince Vaughn, to name a few.
“Zoolander” provides for a carefree night of laughs and silly entertainment. It is the perfect answer for those looking for a temporary distraction from the recent and tragic events in America, and couldn’t have come at a better time. Although all its jokes won’t have audiences laughing in tears, it will surely keep them entertained until its spoofed end.
Grade: B+


About Audra Bouffard