Tuesday, October 2, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 29


Stiller spoofs fashion world with 'Zoolander'

Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson
Paramount Pictures
**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 of

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 couture.

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 with
haughtily pursed, pouty lips -- Zoolander announces that he has yet to present "the" look that will wow the entire fashion world, a look he calls "Magnum."

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 pretty by
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 Idiot."

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 Kids Who
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 labor.

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 and
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.

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