Even on its own limited terms. "Zoolander" should probably count as a failure. It's a sharp satire on the fashion business, the film is toothless, giving wet slobbery kisses instead of biting painful chunks out of a world that is ripe for comic exploitation. Given that the film is crowded with walk-ons from the catwalks (Claudia Schiffer, Donatella Versace, Lenny Kravitz), it's almost like the film has gained approval from it's intended victims.
And yet, here we are in the third paragraph, and I have to admit I loved it. Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) is the world's most successful male model, adored for his famous "Blue Steel" look, but dark clouds are gathering; up-and-coming clothes horse Hansel (Owen Wilson) steals the best Male Model award from Derek's grasp, a Time journalist (Christine Taylor) suggests he's dumb, oh, and an international conspiracy is determined to brainwash him into assassinating the Prime Minister of Malaysia. I've had weeks like this.
It's exceptionally silly, as that synopsis might imply, and not content with an idiotic plot, Stiller (who also writes and directs) constantly throws in moronic parody sequences like the bit where Derek goes home to his Pennsylvania mining home town to rediscover his roots, or the extended skit on "2001" which pops out of nowhere for no particular reason. The silly faces models pull, the offensive shock-tactics of designers (a late sequence involves "Derelicte", a fashion collection based on homeless people which is all too horribly plausible), anorexia, the sweatshops that produce many fashion items and the weird connection between catwalk fashion and David Bowie - it's all here, thrown in without any great plan or organisation, but without argument, very funny.
If you're in the mood, this is a treat. Stiller's gormless performance, his brilliant stranded-somewhere-in-the-Atlantic accent, and amazingly stupid remarks are easily the equal of Austin Powers in terms of a comic character, while virtually everything that Wilson does or says is side-splitting. Stupid clothes, superb one-liners, Jon Voight's incredible hairstyle - it all combines to make a film that is painfully funny. On the other hand, if you're not in the mood, it's probably unbearable, a bunch of incredibly silly men enjoying themselves being silly.
Stiller hasn't directed a film since his outstanding, generally despised satire on television "The Cable Guy", and he'a definitely treading very gingerly with "Zoolander", as eager to include extended gags about the size of Derek's manhood as subtle character comedy. He hedges his bets considerably, and the result is a mess. But with superb performances from Will Ferrell as a demented fashion designer, the glorious Milla Jovovich escaping all those awry Acting roles by playing a cross between Anna Wintour and Miss Whiplash, and best of all, Stiller's dad Jerry as Derek's foul-mouthed agent, he at least ensures that the mess is delivered with limousine service.
Of course, the silliest gag of all is that Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are about as likely to be male models. But if you find grown men gleefully making fools of themselves funny, see this film.
Thanks for reading.
We're planning a ride around the West Pennines this Weds :)
Meeting at the H&H at 17:45 for a speedy get-away!
The weather is supposed to be very dry and sunny (again!!?)
I wonder if we can beat our record of 15 riders from 2004 after all, we equalled it last week ;)
Route to be decided.......
He did actually write it?
That 13 year old was certaintly paying attention in English eh? and then he went home every night to watch ever film over the past 30 years and remember all the character names and who starred in them.
Come on SR, unban him, he is a genius :-)
For someone who is 13 years old to write something like that, I think we should hand him the title of genius or something as a new status. Well done Shaneo, that was trully poetic.
*Cough* Copied and banned *Cough*