A dim-witted male model named Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) is brainwashed to assist in killing the prime minister of Malaysia. It's up to a nosy reporter named Matilda (Christine Taylor) and Derek to learn of this plan and stop it before Zoolander commits murder. At the same time, he must deal with rival Hansel (Owen Wilson) who's popularity is surpassing his...
Typically, I like stupid movies. I like dumb humor. I liked Dumb and Dumber, Mystery Men, and Rat Race, so I thought from seeing the previews of Zoolander, it'd definitely be a flick for me. Sadly, I was wrong.
I like Ben Stiller; I liked Owen Wilson in Shanghai Noon, Armaggedon, and he was pretty much the only redeeming quality of The Haunting. Here, in Zoolander, his character is likely to disappoint some fans, as he has almost no redeemable qualities in this film. Ben Stiller does a really good job as a brainless model, but he didn't write much for himself to work with. While the concept alone is funny, I must agree with one critic who felt like the movie was more of an inside joke than anything. I felt like I was fishing for something to laugh at. I wanted really badly to enjoy the movie, but it just wasn't that funny.
Content didn't help the movie at all. It made me mad that the film seemed like it should be an innocent comedy due to being so down-right silly, but Stiller found no fault in including a scene where Hansel and Derek both have sex with Matilda, and are soon joined by numerous other male models. The whole scene is done in a very silly way and is meant to be funny, but it was much more uncomfortable than silly (and should be if you think about it from a Christian perspective). No nudity is seen, as we are shown the characters from shoulders-up shots only, seeing their pleasured reactions to the encounter, which Hansel later describes as a "freak fest." Aside from occasional crude dialog, there is another scene in which Derek is being massaged in a spa and when he turns over on his back to talk to Matilda, we see the sheet covering him is raised at his crotch. As he talks to Matilda, the masseuse tries to touch his erection with two broom-like tools and it moves around under the sheet to avoid being touched. It's a gross and also uncomfortable scene that's unnecessary for the film.
This is one film you're best to stay away from. It's stupid, crude, and just not funny for the most part. While it does have its very occasional moments, with Stiller's character being fun to watch but often ridiculous, the film is a waste of time. You're better off seeing Rush Hour 2 or even Rat Race, but of course with discretion. (Also, you may notice that in many shots of the cityscape of New York, the filmmakers removed the Twin Towers because of the September 11th attack on New York. For those who might look for them in the shots, it is a little unsettling to see them missing, however, it might seem creepy to see them there, too. Stiller and his team probably felt like it was a no-win situation.)
Overall, the film is a major disappointment. It's not worth dragging this review on much longer. It just wasn't good and it's a shame cause it could have been. - John DiBiase (reviewed: 9/29/01)
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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