cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

Top Selling DVD     Books

50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Bug's Life
Chronicles of Narnia set
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE


Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

Alice in Wonderland
Beauty and the Beast
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Princess Mononoke
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

Click for full sized poster

Buy the Poster


Starring Ben Stiller; Owen Wilson, Christine Taylor, Will Ferrell and Milla Jovovich
Screenplay by Drake Sather & Ben Stiller and Jon Hamburg
Based on a story by Drake Sather & Ben Stiller
Directed by Ben Stiller

IN SHORT: "brilliant" with a capital B. [Rated PG-13 for Sexual Content and Drug References. ]

For three years running, Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) has taken Male Model of the Year honors at the VH1 Fashion Awards, probably because of his patented facial look called "Blue Steel". This year, though, he's knocked out by a Razor boarding, yo-yo flipping, Eastern philosophizing, party boy, long haired blonde newcomer called Hansel (Owen Wilson). That, topped by a uncomplimentary cover on Time Magazine (Zoolander can't or won't read the story) is pretty much the end for our hero. With his career in ruins, Derek sets his sights on opening a "School for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Want to Do Other Stuff". If you think that's a simple set up for a ton of dumb model jokes and the cat fight of the century between the rivals, you're wrong.

We can't speak for the rest of the country but, here in New York, we haven't cracked a smile in the two weeks since the destruction of the WTC. We walked into our screening of Zoolander expecting a lame, dumb-ass comedy, which would have been fine by us. On first impression, that's what we got. It was also amusing as hell to consider the possibility of a cadre of superstar fashion designers who secretly control the world and the physically trained-to-perfection operatives whose brains are empty vessels waiting for instructions from manipulative agents.

Once Stiller's Zoolander gets rolling, it's not just a dumb model saying something stupid disposable popcorn flick. It's filled with enough brilliant loop-the-loop gags and star cameos to match the much harder to find comedy Lisa Picard is Famous. If there were enough comedy films to warrant it, both of those movies would make a top ten. Both feature more star cameos than you can shake a stick at but we won't list Zoolander's as this film doesn't need the hard sell. Picard's story is more straightforward. Zoolander's jokes are so clever that the laughs at our screening often came two or three seconds after the jokes were delivered. That means analysis is required of some of 'em. The high brow is matched evenly with the politically incorrect humor so don't let big words like analysis scare you off.

Note the history of this project. Zoolander began its life as a short film for the 1996 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards, which is not usually a sign given its sisters (MTV) luck with kicking the short stuff up to the big screen. Here, rather than beating a five minute sketch to death, Stiller adds a bizarre enougn pair of bad guys to keep you interested. The phenomenally successful designer named Mugatu (Will Ferrell) and his assistant Katinka (Milla Jovovich) are in thrall to the evil cartel. They have ten days to do as they are told -- find a dimwit model and set him on the path that will make him a killing machine

Which brings us back to our hero. Emotionally destroyed by his failure to turn an awards hat-trick into whatever four in a row is called, Zoolander returns to his home in the coal mining hills of Southern New Jersey, there to rejoin the family business deep inside The Mountain. Rejected by dad (Jon Voight) and family (including an uncredited Vince Vaughn) Derek snaps at a job offer from Mugatu, who has never hired him to headline a show. At this show, whose fashions are based on the clothing styles of the homeless (and thus called "Derelicte by Mugatu") is the Prime Minister of Malaysia (Woodrow Assai) who our hero is about to kill. All that stands in his way is the intrepid investigative journalistic sense of Time Magazine correspondent Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor).

We should add that the nice thing about being the writer and director and star and, most important, producer is that you can hire your parents, providing all the necessary income that Social Security doesn't. Those old enough to remember Ed Sullivan know we're talking about dad Jerry Stiller (as Zoolander's crooked agent Maury Ballstein) and mom Anne Meara, who comes and goes in a flash.

Stiller the Younger worked his butt off on this movie. The jokes come at you from all angles whether they be Jovovich's letter perfect Natasha Romanov accent; Jerry Stiller's velour jumpsuit costumes; Will Ferrell's hairdo or any of the dumb stuff in the dialog. We didn't want all that much from Zoolander. We got almost more than we could handle.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Nine Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Zoolander, he would have paid . . .


But then, we haven't laughed in a fortnight. We are so toying with the notion of laying out real green money to see Zoolander again that this rating may actually go up.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Ben Stiller
Click to buy films starring Will Ferrell
Click to buy films starring Milla Jovovich
Click Here!

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.