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Director:Ben Stiller
Cast:Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell
Genre:Film, Comedy

By Andy Markowitz | Posted

Sketch-born movies are invariably one-joke ponies; trust Ben Stiller to make the joke conceptual, resulting in the rare skitcom that plays dumb with smarts. Based on a character director/co-writer/star Stiller introduced on the VH-1 Fashion Awards, of all things, Zoolander plays off the equal-opportunity notion that male models are as vacuously self-absorbed as we imagine female models to be. Stiller runs with the gag all the way, burying his edgy/angsty persona under dumb-blond mannerisms and glacially slow self-awareness as thick-as-a-brick ace face Derek Zoolander sees his star eclipsed by blissed-out hunk Hansel (Owen Wilson) and gets unwittingly enmeshed in a plot to kill a Malaysian reformer who threatens the fashion industry's access to cheap child labor. Stiller's canny but affected characterization gets a bit wearying, as do the parade of pop-up celebrity cameos and the perpetually unfunny Will Ferrell as an evil designer. But Stiller and the marvelous Wilson riff off each other with top-this comic brio, and the movie's lampoon of Fashionworld--envisioned as a kind of E! network alternate universe in which models name their facial expressions and David Bowie materializes in a Manhattan warehouse to referee a late-night runway duel--bristles with wry, likeably loopy wit.

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