A satire on the fashion industry, why are there not more like this?
I did not watch Zoolander when it first came out in 2001, but I remember hearing a lot about it at the time. It was not until a couple of years later I sat down to watch it and remember enjoying its silly but fun sense of humour satirising the fashion industry, which more comedy films need to be doing. After 15 years, a sequel is due out this February, so I decided to take a look at the first one to see if it was still any good.
In fact, this movie still holds up surprisingly well. The plot of the film involves lead Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) being manipulated by Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell) to kill the liberal Prime Minister of Malaysia, whose reforms would cost the industry millions. We learn throughout the film the fashion industry has been behind numerous assassinations throughout history in order to maintain its hold on power. This is silly material, but it fits perfectly within the world Ben Stiller creates here.
There are some great cameos throughout the film from industry insiders. Milla Jovovich in particular stands out as Mugatu’s right hand henchwoman Katinka, she genuinely enjoys playing this over-the-top baddie and lampooning the industry she has worked in. Billy Zane is there too, randomly, but he is just great in the few lines he does have.
Christine Taylor (Stiller’s actual wife) is here too as a reporter who ends up stumbling on the conspiracy, and Owen Wilson plays Hansel – the hot new model who outshines Zoolander. Hansel and Zoolander initially cannot stand each other, which leads to a funny model challenge between the two, but of course they grow to respect each other and become friends. Will Ferrell is just loud in this movie (it is some of his earlier work post-SNL) but it works for the character and he is an enjoyable bad guy (especially the jokes between him and his assistant).
Every beat in this movie you could see coming miles away, but this does not matter because it is so much fun getting there. There are some genuinely funny moments in this movie which make it an entertaining way to spend your Sunday night.
I am looking forward to seeing Zoolander No. 2 as it hits theatres this month, take a look at the trailer below:
This is a comedy movie satirising the fashion industry, nothing more and nothing less. Yet you get some genuinely great comedic performances from all the lead characters and some wonderful cameos as well. The movie still holds up well after 15 years which almost makes it a timeless classic, something Derek Zoolander would be proud of if he knew what any of it means.