April 1, 2003
Ok, I recently saw Zoolander on DVD. It is not the kind of movie
that I would ordinarily watch. Why? Male models, first of all. Comedy,
yes, it is true, but not all comedy is created equally. I prefer
intellectualy humor, like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,
a brilliant take-off of Hamlet, or maybe better called, a side story.
I also like wry and/or dry humor, such as most non-Benny Hillish
British humor. Slapstick will only go so far. Same with over-the-top
social commentary (or any comedy over the top). So this movie, looking
incredibly over the top (in that Something about Mary kind of way),
did not appeal to my sense of aesthetics. I saw it on the recommendation
of two friends. And it was hillarious.
First, some impressions of the movie:
Ben Stiller always hooks up his father in his movies, it seems.
Owen Wilson makes a horrible model. But a great stupid guy.
Will Ferrel doesn't get any scarier. I've never liked him, but ew.
Ben Stiller makes playing an idiot look easy. And I actually think
that would be hard to accomplish.
It was nice to see David Duchovny doing the conspiracy thing again,
after the X-Files started to suck and he cut himself from the show.
Nobody makes as good a paranoid conspirist as he does.
So, overall comments on this movie? It was an amusing look at the
fashion world from the point of view of male models, largely ignored
by Hollywood. It makes biting commentary about the stupidity of
all models, perceived and real. These are people trained to think
solely about their bodies looking good, and few models have an understanding
of the real world, so caught up in their artificial sphere of good
looks, casual sex and drugs. Celebrities sprinkle the scenery, including
Winona Ryder and David Bowie (oh, the list goes on, check
imdb.com for the entire list. The walk-off is hilarious, as
is the male-model-roommates-out-for-a-good-time scene, including
the "tragic" ending to that scene, for which I cheered.
On the negative side: Will Ferrel. He wasn't funny on Saturday
Night Live, and he's not funny here. His character is annoying,
and in an already unabashedly and purposefully shallow movie, he
comes off as incredibly one-faceted. Ugh. Sometimes, the humor gets
a little over the top, which I've already stated is a peeve of mine,
and the climax. Eh, I've had better. Can't say I was on the edge
of my seat. The acting is good, for the most part, but the script
is weak and sometimes bogs down. I found myself losing interest
for part of the movie, especially after Zoolander loses his male
model of the year award to Hansel, played by Wilson. Zoolander (Stiller)
mopes about and I didn't really care. It picked up pace later when
the conspiracy came to light. The absolute most creepy part of the
movie is Mugatu, played by Ferrel, dresses as a little girl and
hypnotizes Zoolander to train him to be an assassin. Farrel is scary
in real life, he is scary as Mugatu, and he is frightenin as Mugatu
(a freak) playing a little girl. Brrrrrr!
Some people hated this movie. Some loved it. I say it is a good,
middle-of-the-road kind of comedy. One of the funnier moments is
when Zoolander sees a model of his future school for "Kids Who Can't
Read Good." Perplexed by how small the model is, and being slow-witted,
he asks "Is this a center for ants?" Enraged, he continues, How
can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read if they
can't even fit inside the building?"
All in all, I give this one about 6 out of 10 stars. Good to watch
if nothing else is on. Great if you love Ben Stiller.