Zoolander

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(2001) ★★

Film4: Saturday 17 October, 7.15pm

Ben Stiller blank-faced and black-clad as Derek Zoolander, international male model extraordinaire – a multi-award-winning narcissist who is also virtually retarded. Blown off the billboards by cocky blond bombshell Owen Wilson and grieving the death of his three flatmates in ‘a freak gasoline-fight accident’, Stiller is the laughing stock of the entire fashion world.

He’s pretty sure there’s something more to life than being really, really good-looking, and he resolves to build the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good. But first he’s primed by brainwashing to assassinate the Malaysian prime minister, who is threatening fashion industry profits by the abolition of child labour. Satirical suspense? Hardly.

Ben Stiller’s self-consciously zany spy-who-came-in-from-the-spa caper aspires to the amusingly self-regarding humour of Austin Powers but is far too silly to engage on any level above the nudge-and-wink world of Charlie’s Angels. It’s all set dressing and no destination, and the mainly 1980s jukebox soundtrack is not much of a mood lightener either.

But, yes, there are a couple of decent gags amid the obvious dross. The best moment is fashion-phobic Christine Taylor’s admission that, in the 7th grade, she became bulimic. In an awed whisper, the idiotic Stiller responds “You can read minds?” Close your eyes for Zoolander 2.

Certificate: 12

Duration: 89min

IMDB – Zoolander

TMDB – Zoolander

Rotten Tomatoes – Zoolander