Zoolander

Bomb Rating: 

It's as if Ben Stiller consciously sat down and tried to figure out how little work he could do and still get a film produced.

For me, "Zoolander" falls into that large class of films that always seem like they should be much funnier than they prove to be. Consequently, sitting through them turns into pure frustration, because virtually everything about the movie seems like it could have been done better. It's as if Ben Stiller consciously sat down and tried to figure out how little work he could do and still get a film produced.

As if nepotism weren't a rampant enough issue in Hollywood already, Stiller employs both his wife (Christine Taylor), who plays a reporter, and his father (Jerry Stiller), who plays Zoolander's agent. I can take Jerry Stiller's screeching in a half-hour sitcom as long as he's not on screen for more than about five seconds. As for Taylor, there's a reason she doesn't get work outside the family. She looks exactly like Marcia Brady. I suppose that's both a blessing and a curse. Here, it's a curse. When they make "The Brady Bunch: The Geriatric Years," it'll be a blessing. I also find Owen Wilson impossible to look at. Christ, he makes how much? Wilson's shnoz is more crooked than Dan Rostenkowski at an AFL-CIO meeting.

The idea of a stupid, unwitting male model turned into an assassin seems funny, but "Zoolander" is never as funny as the premise implies, thus it's not really funny at all. Ben Stiller isn't just the star of this film, but also its director and writer. My suggestion to Ben is this: Increase your dosage of Ritalin, because you don't have the attention span for multi-tasking. While Stiller's acting is what it usually is -- annoying -- the writing and directing are outright lazy. Derek Zoolander (Stiller) is entering the twilight of his career and he knows it because he loses the "Male Model of the Year" award to his rival, Hansel (Owen Wilson). His stupidity makes him a target for Mugatu (Will Ferrell), who wants Zoolander to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia, because Malaysia has just implemented child labor laws.

The first scene of the movie features Mugatu with a poodle and my first thought was, "I've seen this whole thing spoofed in 'Austin Powers'". This, in fact, is what Ben Stiller is trying to be -- a poor man's Mike Myers. Most of the film's humor is derived from Zoolander making faces, which is funny for about two seconds, after which it becomes the kind of excuse people use for yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.

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