Stiller spoofs fashion world with 'Zoolander'
Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson
**1/2 (out of five stars)
MPAA rating: PG-13
By Maurice Bobb
Daily Cougar Staff
It was only a matter of time before our fascination with supermodels
got ugly. And it was equally inevitable that Ben Stiller would find a way
to milk it for all
the laughs it's worth.
Melinda Sue Gordon/Paramount Pictures
Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller star as competing male supermodels
in the in the new film Zoolander. Stiller wrote, produced and directed
the film, which
was originally a skit at the VH1 Fashion Music Awards.
Ben Stiller's stellar spoof of the male model at the VH1/Vogue Fashion
Awards in 1996 has found its way to the silver screen with the release
The character he created, Derek Zoolander, hilariously pokes fun at
all the vanity, emasculation and fatuousness that is part of the life of
the male model.
He imagines that our most complex social crisis is avoiding the K-Mart
clothing racks and living up to the socially acceptable images of haute
Never fear, Derek Zoolander is here, spiky black hedgehog hairdo and
all, to make us laugh at the pretty people.
"It's hard to be professionally good-looking," sighs Zoolander, three-time
VH1 Fashion Awards Male Model of the Year and reigning nitwit.
Armed with three devastating signature "looks," facial expressions like
Blue Steel, Le Tigre and Ferrari -- all of which are the same bland grimace
haughtily pursed, pouty lips -- Zoolander announces that he has yet
to present "the" look that will wow the entire fashion world, a look he
Of course "Magnum" is a nine-year work in progress for the chiseled
megahunk, who needs a new look fast after being ousted from his perch of
newcomer Hansel, a blond Zen cowboy, in the latest VH1 Fashion Awards.
A confused Zoolander walks onstage to receive the award and must eat
crow before the entire fashion world.
Additionally, Zoolander is blasted by a Time magazine reporter, Matilda
(played by Stiller's real-life wife, Christine Taylor) for being a "Model
Finally, he loses his three male model roommates in a freak gasoline
fight accident while on a mocha orange frappucino run.
It's enough to make pretty boy Derek quit the male modeling business
and find his purpose in life -- opening the Derek Zoolander School for
Can't Read Good.
Derek's true test, though, comes when Mugatu (Will Ferrell of Saturday
Night Live), the poodle-tressed designer who confuses fashion with sanitation,
decides to brainwash Zoolander into assassinating the Prime Minister
of Malaysia. The Prime Minister was going to put an end to child slave
Now, Zoolander must race against time to break Mugatu's spell and prove
he's not just a mannequin with Eau de Toilet for brains.
Luckily, Derek enlists the assistance of Matilda and closet fan Hansel
to make the world gel with his naivete.
And lucky for us, there's plenty of time for laughs as Derek tackles
a day spa in a week, organizes an orgy with Matilda and midgets, and struts
in a runway
walk-off that leaves him with a monstrous wedgie.
As with any broad spoof, many gags in Zoolander miss the mark.
Case in point: The bit with Derek and Hansel going ape over a computer.
And it wouldn't be a spoof without all the superstar cameos, including
Jon Voight as Derek's coal-miner dad, Cuba Gooding, Jr., male model Tyson
Tom Ford of Gucci.
Just remember this movie is just one elaborate joke and you'll easily
fall prey to its silliness.
After all, Zoolander is goofy enough to pull this movie off with style
and you don't have to be "really, really, really ridiculously good-looking"
to enjoy it.