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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Zoolander

Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson
Director: Ben Stiller
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: September 2001
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Christine Taylor, Will Ferrell, Jerry Stiller, Milla Jovovich, David Duchovny, Fabio, David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz, Natalie Portman, Billy Zane

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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