out of 4
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Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4
If you love satire, this is for you. Claiming he based his moronic
character on a "cross between Jason Priestly and Luke Perry,"
Director/writer/actor Ben Stiller has created vacuous, good-looking Derek
Zoolander, the world's best-known male model. He's the three-time winner of the
VH1 Male Model of the Year Award but when he loses to Hansel, a Fabio-like
newcomer played by Owen Wilson, he's so depressed that he's ripe to be recruited
by the evil Mugatu (Will Ferrell) and brainwashed at a Day Spa to become a
political assassin. It seems the Prime Minister of Malaysia has become a threat
to a cabal of fashion industry tycoons because he's vowed to pay his country's
garment workers a decent wage - and it's Stiller's sinister contention that the
greatest political assassins throughout recent history have been male models.
Superbly portrayed by Stiller, Derek Zoolander is "a beautiful, self-absorbed
simpleton - an empty vessel," whose snarling signature "look" is dubbed Blue
Steel. But Owen Wilson steals scenes as the extreme-sports devotee, particularly
during the "walk-off" as the rival male mannequins duel on the runway.
Collaborating with co-writers Drake Sather and John Hamburg, Ben Stiller comes
up with a winner, casting members of his own family in pivotal roles. Stiller's
real-life father Jerry plays his agent; his real-life mother, Anne Meara, plays
a heckler; and his real-life wife, Christine Taylor ("The Brady Bunch Movie"),
plays a snoopy reporter. Jon Voight is his coal-miner father; Milla Jovovich is
a villainous vamp, and David Duchovny has a conspiracy secret - while David
Bowie, Natalie Portman, Christian Slater, Lukas Haas, Cuba Gooding Jr. and
others do cameos. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Zoolander" is a silly,
stupid 8. It's timely, hilarious, good fun.
Copyright © 2001 Susan Granger
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