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ZOOLANDER
Reviewed March 24th, 2002 by Brian White

 

This movie had so much promise. Ben Stiller, who had just been so funny in Meet the Parents and Thereís Something about Mary, puts together a brilliant cast and a great concept. A truly hilarious world is created, with laughs at every turn. Despite everything, the movie never seems to reach its full potential. Iím a big fan of Stillerís and not much of a fashion fan. There was lampooning to be done. As a result, I was expecting a lot.

Zoolander is the story of Derek Zoolander, the worldís most popular model. He is reaching the end of his career, and has suffered two major setbacks: he is made quite aware (as is the world) of his passing relevance; and he suffers a major, and hilarious tragedy. As a result of his precarious situation, Derek is selected as the patsy for a devious plot on the part of the fashion industry. Will Ferrell is his usual funny self as the evil fashion designer.

Stiller et al have created an incredible, rich and over the top world for our dim-witted hero to live in. The fashion world has been elevated to an importance that only the fashion world could believe. Zoolander is a real celebrity. Youíll find yourself amused at nearly everything in Derekís world.

The humor in this film comes more from the ridiculous situation than from jokes or physical comedy. Iím not convinced this result is what the filmmakers wanted. Zoolander is just not as funny as I hoped it would be. Sure there is plenty to laugh at, and this is a very entertaining flick. The movie never rises above the ridiculous world, as the viewer would expect.

The great cast includes Stillerís wife Christine Taylor, Owen Wilson from Meet the Parents, Jerry Stiller, as Zoolanderís agent, and Ferrell. David Duchoveny, John Voight and Vince Vaughn add a lot of humor to the flick as well. The movie is punctuated by several really funny cameo appearances.

I must repeat that Iím a big fan of Ben Stillerís. While this movie goes most of the way to success Iím sure heís going to hit his writing/directing/acting target soon.

Video-wise, this is a really nice looking DVD. Stiller has created a very colorful and fun world. He shoots this world very well and the DVD is well produced. The anamorphic, 2.35:1, anamorphic transfer is quite detailed and crisp.

The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is quite active, with plenty going on around the room. You get both music and less-than-subtle sound effects filling up the mix.

For extras, you get a feature length, screen-specific commentary by Stiller, and writers Drake Sather and John Hamburg. Like the film, I was looking forward to the commentary, and was disappointed. I was expecting some introspection on the track, and got little. Perhaps Kevin Smithís frank commentaries have spoiled me. The participants strike you as funny people during the track, but there isnít much worth listening to here. Move along.

You can view deleted scenes with commentary on or off. And you can also view some outtakes that are pretty funny. Donít watch the VH1 sketches before watching the film itself as MUCH of the filmís inspiration came from a couple of sketches that Stiller produced for the VH1 fashion awards. Promos and music videos fill out the package. I must say that the menus are really cool as well. This is a good special edition.

 

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