About as dumb as dumb comedies can get, Zoolander suffers from a weak plot and even weaker characters, yet the performances by Stiller, Wilson and the extremely funny Will Ferrell more than make up for it.
Three time Male Model of the Year Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) has reached a crossroads in his life. After losing what should have been his fourth Male Model of the Year trophy to young upstart Hansel (Owen Wilson), Derek decides to give up male modeling for a more meaningful life.
It is at this moment that fashion guru Mugatu (Will Ferrell) hand picks Derek that be the face of his new Derelicte line.Yet Mugatu has other plans in store for Derek, as he uses the witless model to become the ultimate assassin and kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia, who has opposed the fashion industries use of cheap child labor which is a prominent part of Mugatu’s production line.
An actor who has perfected the art of playing himself, Stiller is just as effective taking on a role that does not reflect his personality. Indeed, Derrick Zoolander is an idiot. Incredibly stupid and self centered, Zoolander is the ultimate spoof of male models and their divine quest to make the world a better place.
Owen Wilson’s stoner sensibilities work well as rival model turned ally Hansel, while Will Ferrell steals the movie with his wacky improvisations and insane choice of hair and costume.
Jerry Stiller and David Duchovny are very funny in minor roles and the movie contains a pantheon of celebrity guest stars; David Bowie, Natalie Portman, Winona Ryder, Christian Slater. Cuba Gooding Jnr., Billy Zane and many more all make an appearance at various fashion shows and night clubs.
Zoolander should be seen as a piss take on the fashion world and nothing more. Any attempt at serious issues such as child labor or bulimia is slapped down instantly.
Some would call it pure Hollywood drivel. Really, it is just pure escapism, a comedy that does what it is supposed to do: make the viewer laugh.