Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Movie Review: Zoolander

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Some jokes work; plot mostly works
Cons: Too over the top at times; many jokes fall flat
The Bottom Line:
Surprisingly fun
Beat my low expectations
Comedic thriller

Amusing and Outlandish

There are some movies that I am undeniably curious about despite the fact that I am fairly certain I won’t like it when I watch it.  Zoolander is one of those films.  I’m not a big fan of most of the cast, and it just looked ridiculous to me.  And yet, I’ve heard so many references to it over the years, I just had to see it.  While it’s not an outstanding film, I was surprised by my reaction to it.

This film centers on the world of male models and the ridiculously good looking Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller).  Ben has been the top male model for years, but his reign is coming to an end as everyone is getting excited about the latest up and comer, Hansel (Owen Wilson).

And the timing is perfect.  With the spotlight leaving Zoolander, he can be used as a pawn in a conspiracy lead by Mugatu (Will Ferrell) to assassinate the new President of Malaysia, who is insisting workers be paid a fair wage for their work.  The only person at all interested in this conspiracy is reporter Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor).  Will she uncover the truth in time to stop the assassination?

The premise of the film is pretty ridiculous, right?  And yet, it’s executed well.  It helps that this movie is more comedy with a mystery/conspiracy plot.  The movie got some laughs for me, especially out of the dumb lead models.  It completely plays up the stereotype that models are stupid, but many of those jokes work.

Of course, not all the humor was for me, which isn’t a surprise given the cast.  There are plenty of bad jokes that fall flat.  However, I was expecting to cringe a lot more than I was at much of the humor.

And the plot holds together reasonably well.  Oh, it’s over the top and unrealistic.  However, it’s a comedy first and foremost, and I wasn’t expecting a true thriller from the film.  Given that, the plot still makes sense and unfolds in a logical manner.

I wasn’t aware of just how all-star the rest of the cast was until I started to watch.  We get the likes of Jerry Stiller and Jon Voight in the film in addition to the stars I’ve already named, although I think my favorite was the one scene role that David Duchovny had.  And I have to mention the many cameos, although the most surreal was Donald Trump, given what is going on in 2016.  It’s really no surprise that everyone was perfect in bringing this wacky world to life.

I did watch this film on TV, so I’m sure some of the content was cut out.  I still didn’t care for the orgy scene; honestly, I found the entire romantic part forced and rushed.  Still, keep in mind that the film is rated PG-13 for a reason.

My reaction to this film is colored by my preconceptions going into it.  I was expecting to hate it, so I was surprised that I actually enjoyed it.  Still, it’s enough outside my normal tastes that I didn’t love it.  I’m glad I did finally watch it, however.

Because the film was so over the top and wacky, I’m not sure I would rush out to watch it again.  While not the greatest of films, Zoolander wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be.

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