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Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) is a "really really good looking" mega-star and three-time male model of the year, but also really really dim-witted. His claim to fame is poses like "Ferrari", "Le Tigre" and "Blue Steel" - all of which look exactly the same. When Zoolander loses his crown to earth child male model Hansel (Owen Wilson), crazed fashion magnate Mugatu (Will Ferrell) brainwashes Zoolander into assassinating the Prime Minister of Malaysia to keep child sweatshops in operation. Can Time Magazine's Matilda (Christine Jeffries) stop Zoolander from further embarrassment?

Review by Shannon J. Harvey:
The mirror industry is an easy target for send up. Head Over Heels went for toilet humour parody while Robert Altman's Pret-a-Porter tried for something more sophisticated. But no-one has attempted to send up the male model industry - is there even such a thing? Apparently so, and Ben Stiller can't resist. Based on a dumb - and dubiously handsome - male model character he created with co-writers Drake Sather and John Hamburg for a skit in the VH1 Fashion Awards in 1996, Derek Zoolander becomes a hilarious feature film with Stiller co-writing, directing, starring and providing plenty of parts for family and friends. It's a heap of stupid, irreverent and often ingenious fun, especially the scene where Derek and his male-model roomies
frolic at a car-wash to Wham's Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go with sponges, hoses and petrol bowsers too - until someone lights a match. Amid the wackiness is a catwalk full of high profile cameos, including Lenny Kravitz, David Bowie, Fabio, Jon Voight, Winona Ryder and Billy Zane, and juicy parts are given to Stiller's wife Christine Taylor (who did a great send up of Marcia in The Brady Bunch Movie), his dad Jerry Stiller (George's dad on Seinfeld) and best friend Owen Wilson as the surfer dude earth child Hansel.

First glance of the DVD shows it's packed with special features, suggesting a real winner for Zoolander fans. But upon investigation, it's obvious that Stiller isn't having much fun - at least on his voice over commentary and such. He speaks in such a bored monotone (maybe he had a big night?) that doesn't match the spirit of the film, especially as you might expect him to be lively and perhaps even a little in-character. His commentary with his co-writers is surprisingly low-key and muted, just a standard recollection of the character's genesis and how the movie came together.

But there's plenty of other features. There's half a dozen deleted scenes with optional commentary by Stiller that prove to be prudent choices left on the cutting room floor, as well as some unnecessary extended scenes. Much funnier is the inclusion of the original VH1 Fashion Awards skits in 96 and 97, where the character first came to life promoting his first ever "finishing school" for male models. The TV spots feature Zoolander's hilariously shallow comments on education, racism, dating and so on. Within them, the promotional spots have some of the funniest grabs, like from MTV Cribs, where Zoolander shows you around his apartment, and the interstitials, where Stiller, Taylor, and Ferrell are interviewed alongside Zoolander.

Some thought Zoolander was a lot of not so funny-business. This critic thought it was inspired lunacy, and the DVD is a perfect "in-character" complement (despite Stiller's boredom). And there's much to look forward to with the emerging team of Stiller and Wilson. They stole the show at the recent Oscars with their wardrobe skit, and should bring the house down with their in-production Starsky and Hutch movie.

Published June 27, 2002

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You can buy it HERE - next day delivery within Australia



CAST: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Christine Taylor, Jerry Stiller, Jon Voight, Milla Jovovich, David Duchovny

DIRECTOR: Ben Stiller

RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio Commentary by Ben Stiller and writers Drake Sather and John Hamburg; Deleted scenes; Extended scenes; Alternate end title sequence; Outtakes; VH1 Fashion Awards skits; Music video: Start the commotion - The Wiseguys; Promotional spots; Photo galleries.

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: May 15, 2002

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