Wednesday, October 3, 2001


Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) is a model American — a fashion-model American. But Zoolander’s future turns faster than a runway model from cool as the latest pair of shades to cold and shady. He’s pretty as a picture on the cover of Time magazine — but reporter Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor) captures a portrait of the supermodel as a dim bulb in her accompanying feature article. Matters get even dimmer when Hansel (Owen Wilson), an extreme-sportster and world adventurer, takes the high-fashion world by storm, stealing Zoolander’s thunder.

Finding the faded star in the twilight of his career, evil and outrageous designer Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell) offers him a chance to shine again as the lead model of his latest collection. Little does Zoolander know (and he knows very little) that Mugatu has masterminded a plot to assassinate the prime minister of Malaysia before the politician can increase sweat-shop wages — and cut the apparel industry’s profits. He hypnotizes Zoolander into a lethal weapon. Can foes-turned-friends Matilda and Hansel unravel Mugatu’s designs on Zoolander and the fashion world?

If you’re smarter than the average himbo, I think you know the answer. Zoolander may not be the brightest satire to ever hit the big screen, but it does manage to throw some critically humorous light on the brave new pop world, born of the collision of the arts and fashion and nurtured under the lights and cameras of the media.

Even when the story sags and the gags misfire, Stiller and company’s characters remain true and on-target. Wilson’s culture-appropriating Hansel almost steals the show, while Stiller’s Zoolander could be the bastard love child of Marilyn Monroe and Forrest Gump. Uneven, Zoolander is like a gift box from Bloomingdale’s: You never know what you’re going to get.

Click here to visit the official Zoolander Web site.

E-mail James Keith La Croix at


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