Directed by Ben Stiller

(Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Christine Taylor)

Rated: PG13


Fresh off his comedic successes of Meet the Parents and There’s Something About Mary, Ben Stiller struts into the fashion world of laughs with Zoolander. As if being an international super model isn’t time consuming enough, Stiller also co-wrote, produced and directed Zoolander.

The plot resembles a blend of Dumb & Dumber and Austin Powers tossed in a blender and set to liquify. A well-known fashion designer, Mugatu (Will Ferrell), brainwashes Derek Zoolander (Stiller) so that he will kill the president of Malaysia. Why? Because the president increased child labor laws making it more expensive for Mugatu to manufacture his clothing line, of course.

While that, quite frankly, is the stupidest shit I’ve ever heard, fortunately the plot is secondary to the humor. Stiller earns his laughs the best way he knows how. By creating awkward situations, misunderstandings, and silly dialogue, he gets back to the brand of comedy that hauled in laughs in his previous hit comedies.

Many of the louder belly laughs in Zoolander can be credited to Owen Wilson (the ex-fiance Kevin in Meet the Parents). Wilson again teams up with Stiller, this time as fellow super-model Hansel. Instead of the suave girlfriend thieving “wall-street trader” in Parents, Wilson’s Hansel is after Zoolander’s magazine covers and VH1 Male Model of Year title.

Matilda (Christine Taylor), a Time magazine reporter trying to get the scoop on Mugatu, offers the only level and, perhaps straight, personality in the film. Her character adds little, except a “smart” person for the models to bounce their stupidity off of and help them along the way.

Unfortunately, Zoolander leaves you yearning for more moments where the two models try to say something less stupid than the other.

In addition to getting his wife Christine Taylor and father Jerry Stiller cast into the picture, Ben Stiller manages to pack a boatload of cameos into the movie. David Bowie, Gwen Stefani, Lil’ Kim, Andy Dick, Claudia Schiffer and Cuba Gooding Jr. are just a hand-full of the faces that pop up throughout the film.

Zoolander is, simply put, a roller coaster ride. You go through the lows of stomaching the purposely ridiculous plot just to enjoy the highs of comedic genius that is Ben Stiller. No matter what your tastes, there are plenty of opportunities for laughter, just don’t expect a story that’s “really, really, really good looking.”

-Mike DeArmond


Zoolander opens today in theatres nationwide.