Saturday, February 23, 2008

REVIEW: Zoolander


Year: 2001
Director: Ben Stiller
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Christine Taylor, Will Ferrell, Jerry Stiller
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13

Zoolander is one of those movie that you know has a bad story, but its still pretty entertaining in some ways. Just by watching the trailer, you can tell this movie is just another comedy that takes a crack at the fashion industry. The movie grossed an estimated $60 million on a budget of $28 million. So it definitely made back the money spent into making the movie. I guess after the success of Ben Stiller's previous movie directed movie, The Cable Guy. Stiller was bound to come into the directing chair once more. While I have seen Zoolander before on TV many times, I didn't see the movie while it was showing in theaters. I have seen the movie several times now that I can probably act out certain scenes.

Plot Outline:
Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) was once the best of the modeling industry, but after losing the "Best Model of the Year" award to a rising model named Hansel (Owen Wilson), his career is winding down. Noticing Derek's downfall, a huge modeling campaigner Mugatu (Will Ferrell) puts Derek as the face of his new line of clothes. The only problem is that every major assassination of the past two centuries has been initiated by the modeling industry and Derek is brainwashed to be the assassin in the next murder. With the help of Hansel and a reporter named Matilda (Christine Taylor), Derek tries to escape the evil scheme that he is capable of committing.

The story of Zoolander isn't really a good one. The whole movie is a spoof about how bad and funny the fashion industry can be. The characters that we see in the movie are pretty entertaining to watch, but don't really go anywhere. The plot is pretty straight forward with no real surprises. The whole movie feels like it was made with less thought put into it. Their are many jokes that center around male models and some are pretty funny. While the story isn't creative, its certainly better than most people would expect it to be. I enjoyed it better than Good Luck Chuck. Zoolander may not have the best story ever, but its still one of those movies that you grow attached too because of how many times you have watched it.

The cast of Zoolander is pretty good for the most part. Ben Stiller plays as Derek Zoolander and since hes directing and starring in the film, hes pretty good for the most part. He seems very relaxed and comfortable in his role. I think he gave an enjoyable performance as Derek Zoolander. You wouldn't expect an actor like Ben Stiller to be playing as a male model, but for some reason, he seems pretty right. Owen Wilson plays as Hansel and its nice to see someone on the same level as Stiller playing the Zoolander's rival. He also seems pretty relaxed and comfortable in his role. We also have Christine Taylor playing as Matilda Jeffries and shes also pretty normal for her part. Who would have thought she was going to play someone who eventually ends up sleeping with Zoolander since she is Stiller's real life wife. Will Ferrell plays as the evil Mugatu who is Zoolander's enemy. Hes pretty funny in his role and not as dumb as he is in today's movies.

The visual look of Zoolander isn't a knock out punch. The movie features pretty pale colors that don't really show their effort on DVD. Colors don't look vibrant enough to be eye popping. Even though the movie may not look colorful, its surprisingly sharp. Detail looks pretty clean and noticeable. The movie doesn't have any CGI special effects since its about fashion. Zoolander may not be a visual masterpiece like Blade Runner, but the visual look of the movie looks more than suitable for this type of movie. So I'm pretty satisfied for what we get here.

The music for Zoolander is sort of a mixed bag for some reasons. The music is composed by David Arnold who composed many other popular hits like Independence Day and The World Is Not Enough. So I was expecting alot from the music department, but I was disappointed to find that its hardly anything amazing. The movie doesn't really have a score that's built for this film. What we do get is a mixture of pop and techno that for some strange reason seems pretty good for this movie. The soundtrack also has some good bass to it with some areas of the movie sounding pretty good. Dialogue is also crisp and clear with many of the lines being said sounding just about right.

Zoolander is a mildly entertaining movie to some extent. The movie doesn't have a good story that has something going for it, but its still watchable and enjoyable for some parts. The cast seemed pretty fine to me with many of the cast members giving enjoyable, but straight forward performances. The visual look of the movie is lacking sharp colors, but its detailed none the less. The pale look of the movie is more than fine for a story like this. The music although missing a great score has some music that go pretty well with whats going on the screen. Zoolander isn't a great movie, but its also far from being bad. Its got some scenes that are entertaining to some degree and the movie has grown on me. While I wouldn't recommend this film to people who are looking for Oscar type movies, its certainly something you could rent.

Grade: D+

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