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Movie Review - Zoolander (2001 - United States)
Comedy is so hard to do, in part because What Is Funny is so individual and fluid a constraint. What is funny to me may not be funny to you, and what is funny to me today may not be funny to me tomorrow. And then there's Zoolander , which is Ben Stiller turned completely loose, freed even of the slim bounds of rational storytelling that I feel drag down a lot of his more commercially successful films.
Owen Wilson & Ben Stiller in Zoolander
Watch this wonderful comedy right now:
Watch the trailer:
I love this movie, and I've never felt that it requires I "turn off my brain", as many reviews suggest. In fact, quite the opposite—one of the interesting points about Zoolander is that it builds as a comedy, it gets funnier as it goes along. A great many comedies do the opposite, and diminish during their running time (this is one reason comedy scripts are almost always ten or more pages shorter than screenplays for drama—the shorter length reflects our shorter attention span for comedy; a human can only laugh so much without getting just plain exhausted). I'm not sure how Stiller accomplishes this feat, but —having watched Zoolander several times now—I suspect it comes from the growing goodwill we feel toward his character, who at first appears utterly vane and brainless, but slowly grows in our estimation until we come to accept that he actually does have an itty-bitty brain (he remains completely vane, but we forgive him, since he is, we come to see, trapped in a world in love with appearance and frightened of substance).
David Bowie in his cameo appearance in Zoolander
Ben Stiller as clueless male model Zoolander
There is simply is no better broad comedy than Stiller unleashed, so I recommend this picture very highly, indeed.
Copyright © Roberta Lee 2012. All rights reserved.
(I am an artist and the author of the Suburban Sprawl series of novels as well as two nonfiction books. Find out more about my work at RobertaLeeArt.com.)
Running Time: 1 hr. 45 min.
In Theaters: Sep 28, 2001
On DVD: Mar 12, 2002
Box Office: $44.7M
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Directed By: Ben Stiller
Written By: John Hamburg, Drake Sather
Ben Stiller - Derek Zoolander
Milla Jovovich - Katinka
Will Ferrell - Mugatu
Owen Wilson - Hansel
Jerry Stiller - Maury Ballstein
Christine Taylor - Matilda
Jon Voight - Larry Zoolander
David Duchovny - J. P. Prewitt