ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  be stiller

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  89 minutes

RELEASED  -  28 september 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  paramount pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  zoolander

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $28,000,000
zoolander - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from zoolander at

buy the dvd from zoolander at

at the end of his career, a clueless fashion model is brainwashed to kill the prime minister of malaysia.

the film has been banned in malaysia because of the use of fictional malaysian president as the subject of assassination.


picture from zoolander

picture from zoolander

picture from zoolander


zero out of four possible stars

As one of the only people in America not to have enjoyed There's Something About Mary, I went to Zoolander with no small amount of reservations. After all, I can't remember enjoying Ben Stiller's performance in any film since Reality Bites. And that was years ago! But I must admit, he has almost redeemed himself with this movie. I was mildly surprised by his performance in Zoolander and although this film is not without its faults, I can't say that any part of it annoyed me too much. Which is usually my complaint with Stiller's performances.

He doesn't always "mesh" well with his co-stars. But here, perhaps because he was playing a fool, I could stomach most of the jokes. And, thankfully, the writers and filmmakers stayed away from direct toilet humor. Sure, there were the usual sexual jokes, I mean the movie's about models. But nothing was overly offensive. Now, I personally didn't laugh at all the jokes, but the audience I sat with during the screening of this film seemed to enjoy the film. There was always at least a small part of the audience laughing. So I suppose the filmmakers were successful in bringing some wide appealing jokes to the table.

It's interesting to note, that before this summer, I would have considered this broad reaching humor a fault, but with the hundred or so duds that Hollywood has released in the last six months, I feel that simply complaining about this film on the usual level would do it an injustice. It's not like this film was aiming to get up there with Citizen Kane or anything. And for what it is, it works . . . most of it. But there are, of course, several things that either went over my head or just weren't funny. Like some of the modeling jokes. Sure, I got a few, but I'm sure that there were several times when I was clueless about what kind of joke the filmmakers were trying to get across.

Because in certain scenes there would be a few lines that weren't funny and then a few that were. Which is probably normal in some movies, but in this film, it was obvious that some of the lines were supposed to be jokes, and because I am not a model, I had no idea why they were supposed to be funny. I feel like they almost excluded the audience for too many of the jokes, as opposed to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back where most of the "in" jokes on Hollywood are pretty obvious. I'm sure that there were many jokes in this film that I just didn't get. You didn't think i'd get through the entire review without pointing out Stiller's bad deeds though, did you? Despite it's wide appeal, this film is somewhat disjointed.

There is not always a smooth flow of the narrative (yes, there is a narrative in this film, you just have to pay attention). It just seems that the story is so weak that you end up having to rely entirely on the comedy when seeing this movie. And since the movie isn't always that funny, it almost becomes work to enjoy it. But perhaps I'm just nit-picking at this film's problems. Because really, much of this movie is entertaining. Probably most of that though has to do with Ben Stiller. He's taken on a whole other persona in bringing Derek Zoolander to the screen. It's not just Ben Stiller playing Ben Stiller (like most of his other flicks).

He's changed his voice, his way of moving, and definitely his look. Which is probably the best part of the film. The Zoolander "look" is one of the integrel parts of the plot and Stiller is able to create something really different from his prior roles with this performance. It's really funny, without being something like an Adam Sandler character. An actor whose character seemed to almost eclipse Stiller's performance was Owen Wilson's character of "Hansel." (by the way, a great name for a model) He really just made every scene he was in a lot of fun. Maybe it was his look in the film. With an odd shaped nose and some wavy model-like locks, Wilson is able to embody that look that looks ridiculous when it's plastered on the side of a building or on a billboard.

Though for all the laughs in the film, I do have to point out one scene that just didn't seem that funny, though it went on for quite some time. If you'll remember in the trailers, Derek and Hansel must get some files from inside a computer. The two models, being the dumb men they are, assume that the files are actually in the computer. So they begin hitting and banging on the computer. Wilson and Stiller bang on the computer for so long that they begin to look like apes. Kind of like a 2001 Kubrick reference or something. But it just isn't that funny. And it goes on and on and on.

Perhaps it would have been laughable if the scene hadn't gone on for so long. It's like they thought it might become funny if they just kept it on the scene longer. But it wasn't. And unfunny parts aside, I can't say I was impressed with Christine Taylor's performance. She didn't have any chemistry with Ben Stiller. Which is pretty amazing, considering the two are married.

I just didn't care for any of the humor she displayed with her character. It's almost like whenever she says her lines, she's just reading them off a nearby piece of paper. Not very funny. And she'd never fall in love with Derek Zoolander. Of course, she did marry him. So, in conclusion, if you see this film, don't pay too much attention to anyone to it. Take it all with a grain of salt and make sure to catch the matinee.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs paramount pictures 2001
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