Zoolander review by Tom Blain

Catwalk or Catnap?

Was Ben Stiller on SNL? Did he get the formula from Lorne Michaels? This film fits the Saturday Night Live formula with startling accuracy. You get yourself a doofus and some hot chick, along with some crazy scheme, hijinks ensue, and bam everyone is happy at the end. This movie was just like any other " just left SNL and wants to start off in movies" film that was catered just for his/her (uhh....Molly Shannon) bizarre sense of humor but not outside the constraints of the system.

Zoolander is a film about Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller), international male super model. He is a guy that walks down runways with goofy clothing and makes serious looking faces (as if his job was serious). He is about to turn 30 which means he is reaching the end of his career and it doesn't help that he lost the VH1 model of the year award to an up-and-coming Hansel (The usually funny Owen Wilson). While at this crossroads he is handed a job from Mugatu (Will Ferrall), an outlandish clothing designer, but Derek is too stupid to realize that he is being brainwashed and setup to conduct an assassination.

There are a number of heavy hitters in this film: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrall and even Jerry Stiller. Ben Stiller is just ... too stupid. Yeah I realize thats the idea, but in certain scenes it reaches the point of annoyance. There were moments when I laughed outloud ( the "Wake me up before you Go-Go" scene where the models are spraying each other with gasoline in playful joy), but overall the good parts might have made me laugh if they werent in the previews and shown over and over. I am starting to see a trend here: three Ben Stiller movies have done this to me. There's Something About Mary was damn funny but I might choked on my own laugh had I not seen the previews. Meet the Parents had some good moments wasted by previews even if it wasnt as funny as TSAM. And now Zoolander.

Owen Wilson makes me laugh in several movies but its usually a sort of pompous aloofness about him that gets the most laughs. There is a touch of that in this movie, but its mostly hidden behind a glazed over high mixed with model air-head. Will Ferrell made me laugh over and over on SNL but I don't recall one movie (save Drowning Mona) where he has duplicated that level of comedy on film. Gotta work on that Will. And Jerry Stiller... well there are moments where he looks like Old Man Costanza, but if I want that I can watch reruns of Seinfeld on channel 32 at 6:30pm and 10:30pm. I dont need it with a four dollar rent.

There were also a number of cameos included David Duchovny, David Bowie, (which was funny), Jon Voight (which really wasnt) and Vince Vaughan (which I am rather indifferent towards since he didnt even talk). And it was also funny that a number of times Zoolander brought up the fact that his love interest, Matilda didnt understand because she "isn't a model." when in real life she is Christine Taylor and one of the few people in the film who was actually a model. But overall, I was pretty disappointed by this Stiller/Wilson outting. It had high potential for comedy, but stayed within the boundaries of films before it and didnt even rise to the level of some of those films.




4 out of 10 Jackasses
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