This season’s “Saturday Night Live” may be sans late-night goddesses Molly Shannon and Cheri Oteri but Zoolander is proof positive that Will Ferrell is still the show’s greatest asset. Although Ben Stiller’s newest isn’t as gut-busting as a “Mad TV” sketch, it’s a wickedly absurd jab at the male modeling profession: it’s VH1 meets Austin Powers meets SNL (never offensive, instantly forgettable but deliriously fun). Fashion designer Jacobim Mugatu (Ferrell) spearheads an attack against the Malaysian prime minister by brainwashing supermodel Derek Zoolander (Stiller), famous for his “Blue Steel” look (uncannily similar to Sarah Jessica Parker’s “Sex and the City” mug shots). Male models are at the center of the world’s most famous assassinations; from Lincoln’s anti-slavery stance to Kennedy’s Cuban embargo, every political action seems to place a direct burden on fashion’s trendy strongholds. Indeed, Zoolander paints a pointed picture of the modeling industry as a ludicrously self-contained unit. Inter-personal strife is taken to the underground, where strutting competitions are not unlike Mexican cockfights. With the aide of Time reporter Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor, Stiller’s wife) and an ex-hand model (played by a scruffy David Duchovny), Zoolander and fellow model Hansel (Owen Wilson) bring down Mugatu and his evil bitch-mate Katinka (a devilishly delectable Milla Jovovich—yes, we want to eat her). Mugatu’s brainwashing video is so preposterously wacky that it sticks out like a sore thumb (much like Reese Witherspoon’s application video from Legally Blonde) in an otherwise hit-or-miss comic landscape. Yes, male models are idiots (three of them accidentally kill themselves in one of the film’s finer moments). It’s a one-joke movie but a funny one nonetheless.
- Ben Stiller
- Ben Stiller
- Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Milla Jovovich, David Duchovny, Jerry Stiller, Christine Taylor
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