Zoolander (2001 with Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell)

USA / 2001

Writers: Drake Sather, Ben Stiller, John Hamburg / Director: Ben Stiller

Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Christine Taylor, Milla Jovovich

Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) is the world’s top model; until Hansel (Owen Wilson) arrives on the scene. The new face du jour wins Male Model of the Year and usurps the throne, while Zoolander’s world implodes when his friends are killed, and the media start a feeding frenzy. Avant-garde designer Mugatu (Will Ferrell) steps in to play saviour, offering Zoolander a chance to model his new “derelicte” range of couture inspired by the homeless. But Mugatu has another agenda: to assassinate the Malaysian PM, whose child labour laws threaten his business. Zoolander is brainwashed to carry out the deed, but his plan hasn’t figured on interfering reporter Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor) and some unexpected allies…

Stiller’s previous efforts as director – Reality Bites and The Cable Guy – were brave and trenchant. Zoolander’s satire is blunt and broad-brush, but develops the idiot-made-good persona that has seen Stiller in perpetual employment. As were his family: wife Christine Taylor gets a major role, while his mother, sister and brother-in-law get a scene each. Even the pet labrador gets a turn. But it’s veteran comic Jerry Stiller (Ben’s father) that walks away with the film as Zoolander’s agent, Maury, dressed as mutton and spouting Catskill-friendly shtick.