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Zoolander

February 17, 2016

Zoolander (2001)
Director: Ben Stiller
Actors: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Christine Taylor

holding-zoolander-hansel-life-lessons-300x195.jpg (300×195)

Synopsis: Airhead male model extraordinaire, Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller), is secretly targeted by a rival fashion house to assassinate the new Malaysian prime minister whose strict child labour laws threaten their operation.

Review: Incredibly, a whole fifteen years after it was originally released and on the cusp of its belated sequel finally hitting the big screen, I’ve finally caught up with Zoolander to see what all the fuss was about.

Arguably its prime asset is that although it’s in the lineage of other bombastic Fratpack numbers, it lacks the self-regarding tenor of many of those films, and its overall conceit and satirical target – the preposterous vanity of models and the fashion industry in general – is spoofed softly rather than with the odious hubris and guffaw of another celebrated pastiche franchise, AnchormanZoolander‘s throwaway charm is best exemplified in the way it gently sends up its own totally arbitrary plot driver – a Malaysian prime minister wanting to abolish child labour laws, thus upsetting a nefarious fashion house, thus bringing Zoolander into play…. The film plays on the spurious, disposable nature of this maguffin so well, and equally enjoyable is the ‘light’ way that Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson go about their yin and yang rivalry as the two prime male models of their era. To my mind, Wilson steals the show: his portrayal of boho chic, surf dude Hansel, taps into all the best elements of Wilson’s natural charm and genial feel for comedy.

Whether I’ll be rushing to the cinema to catch the Zoolander sequel, I’m not entirely convinced with better fare invariably out there, plus the fact it is still highly calibrated, homogenous stuff. But perhaps I won’t wait another fifteen years to see it as it may just prove a decent source of light relief on a Netflix night in the not-too-distant future! (February 2016)

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