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Zoolander (2001)

tomatometer

64

Average Rating: 5.9/10
Reviews Counted: 131
Fresh: 84 | Rotten: 47

A wacky satire on the fashion industry, Zoolander is one of those deliberately dumb comedies that can deliver genuine laughs.

66

Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 32
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 11

A wacky satire on the fashion industry, Zoolander is one of those deliberately dumb comedies that can deliver genuine laughs.

audience

81

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 940,138

My Rating

Movie Info

Comic actor Ben Stiller co-wrote, directed, and stars in this spoof of the fashion industry that began as a short skit for the 1996 VH1 Fashion Awards. Stiller is Derek Zoolander, an intellectually challenged but bone structure-blessed male model who's despondent after being eclipsed in popularity by an equally vacuous rival, Hansel (Owen Wilson). Upon his reluctant retirement, Derek is invited to a day spa by previously standoffish fashion designer Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell), where the

PG-13,

Comedy, Special Interest

John Hamburg, Drake Sather

Mar 12, 2002

$44.7M

Paramount Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (133) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (84) | Rotten (47) | DVD (34)

A fashion spoof draped over the bones of a puerile conspiracy adventure, this vanity comedy fails at every level barring its incidental details.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This light silly and fluffy satire of the fashion industry targets for a change not the female but male models.

July 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you're aware of -- and amused by -- pop culture, you'll laugh a lot.

June 19, 2002 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Doesn't Stiller realize that the fashion world is already its own parody?

January 22, 2002 Full Review Source: New York Magazine
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Serves as glossy, throwaway fun, and it features more cameos than you can shake a mascara wand at.

October 12, 2001 Full Review Source: Salon.com
Salon.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

During its fleeting moments onscreen, the movie's lighthearted spirit and comic energy make for entertaining, escapist fare.

October 4, 2001
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

About as dumb as dumb comedies can get, Zoolander suffers from a weak plot and even weaker characters, yet the performances by Stiller, Wilson and the extremely funny Will Ferrell more than make up for it.

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

A surprisingly entertaining movie, but edgy.

December 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Ben Stiller often forgoes go-for-broke comedy for the sake of getting rich. Not so in "Zoolander," which is not only Cuba Gooding Jr. and Billy Zane's best work of the last decade, but what remains Stiller's flat-out funniest film - down to the DVD menu.

December 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Suite101.com
Suite101.com

It's patchy, but when it hits, Zoolander is as funny as any Frat Pack picture.

August 14, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

At times Zoolander threatens to disappear up its own catwalk, but it's often very funny stuff.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A success -- if you like dumb fun.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Stiller ... is able to demonstrate contempt for the folly of the Industry of Image even as he shows affection for the people that are in it.

December 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Looking Closer
Looking Closer

Some funny moments, but misses a chance to really skewer its subject.

December 30, 2003 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

I have two words for "Zoolander": Stoo Pid!

August 29, 2003 Full Review Source: Zap2it.com | Comments (2)
Zap2it.com

Where did the wit go? Where did the cleverness behind the laughter go? Gaylord Focker, help us! Mr. Furious, SAVE US!

March 19, 2003 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

The film is dumb and generally unfunny, but it has its moments.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online | Comment (1)
Film Quips Online

It's undeniably stupid, admittedly, but also a lot of fun. Recommended.

October 30, 2002 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

It is a treat to laugh out loud at the movie's deceptively simple-minded goofiness.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

Less than halfway though I was checking my watch in boredom and wondering how if there was much more to go.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal | Comments (10)
Montreal Film Journal

A piquant parody that puts the letter F into FUN, Zoolander is off-the-wall nonsense from go to whoa.

August 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

A film with good intentions and fairly meaningless execution.

August 12, 2002 Full Review Source: CinemaBlend.com
CinemaBlend.com

One of the most amusing satires of the year.

August 2, 2002 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Ben AND Jerry Stiller, what more can one ask for?

August 2, 2002

Audience Reviews for Zoolander

if you work in an office some movies are mandatory to survive trips to the watercooler. I see this as an investment in my future.
April 5, 2007
brooklynspo

Super Reviewer

Hansel: I wasn't like every other kid, you know, who dreams about being an astronaut, I was always more interested in what bark was made out of on a tree. Richard Gere's a real hero of mine. Sting. Sting would be another person who's a hero. The music he's created over the years, I don't really listen to it, but the fact that he's making it, I respect that. I care desperately about what I do. Do I know what product I'm selling? No. Do I know what I'm doing today? No. But I'm here, and I'm gonna give it my best shot.

"3% Body Fat. 1% Brain Activity."

Zoolander is a bizarre, silly, and pretty funny film. I don't really know how to feel about it. There was a lot of laugh out loud satire of the whole model/fashion industry, but there was also some scenes that just made me say, "What the fuck?" I'm sort of in the middle here, not really liking the movie, but not disliking it either. Weird.

Derek Zoolander is the biggest star in male modeling, and also the stupidest. When a new prime minister in Malaysia ruins the fashion business by actually giving good wages to workers and abolishing child labor, Mugatu, the biggest fashion designer, plans to brainwash Zoolander into assassinating the Malaysian pm. 

There's some good stuff in this movie. I really liked the David Duvanchy scene. There's some truly hilarious material in the film, if only there wasn't ten minutes of weird and unfunny material to sit through before getting to the scenes and dialogue that actually worked. In the end, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson make the film enough fun to warrant a watch. I still don't know what to think of it though.
December 24, 2013
blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

This was the first film to really introduce me to Will Ferrell back in the day, its hard to think when this film came out he wasn't a big name star. Twas also the first time I saw Ben Stiller's dad on the big screen, or anywhere really, I hadn't yet discovered the joys of 'The King of Queens'.

This entire film plays out like an early Sacha Baron Cohen flick ('Bruno') but much much tamer. A very deliberate spoof and parody of the fashion/model world that is grotesque, bloated, narcissistic and embarrassing. Alongside Stiller and Owen Wilson is fellow frat pack member Vince Vaughn in an early cameo role and many many other big name stars hamming it up...or so we're led to believe.

Of course this being a film about modelling and fashion there has to be real patriots of this exclusive world involved, and there are plenty. All the big glamorous names you can think of that are connected to this vomit inducing scene are hauled out in front of the camera to show us their parody acting chops. Thing is I'm not entirely sure some of them understood they were being put in a film, I highly doubt they caught on that their lives were being poked fun at (mocked) and they were contributing towards the laughs. Just another day in the glitzy limelight for them.

I wouldn't say the humour was particularly clever, witty or sharp. Its most definitely amusing seeing Stiller and Wilson going overboard as two self obsessed male models, the clip montages at the award ceremony, their own unique dialect and visual expressions plus the 'walk off'...some great mockery going on there. Unfortunately it doesn't quite hold up for the run time in my opinion, the early golden moments dry up quickly as do the ideas.

The plot is daft of course but that doesn't matter really, its just a chance to have a pop at this ridiculous industry, maybe open some insider eyes perhaps. It all feels like your typical SNL sketch that has been stretched out but a little better than their usual fare. Its all very predictable childish and silly but that's the idea so there's no need to think into it. The only good thing about the film for me was the main lead duo and their excellent self indulgent portrayals, everything else is so so.

I totally forgot how hot Jovovich is in this film with her strict dominatrix attire, plus talk about a desperate attempt to kick start your career Billy Zane!. Why exactly are you in this?.
December 22, 2013
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

Based on a sketch created for the 1996 VH1 Fashion Awards, this is co-writer, director and star Ben Stiller's goofy, but sharp satirical spoof of the fashion industry.

Derek Zoolander is an incredibly dim male model who, despite his success, is basically entering the twilight of his career. His reign as the king of male models is challenged by hot newcomer Hansel, and it seems like Derek should just give in and retire. He gets a boost when given the opportunity to work with elitist eccentric fashion icon Mugatu, but things get serious when it's revealed that Zoolander is being brainwashed to help out in an assassination plot.

I gotta be honest. This is a really silly, absurd, and ridiculous movie. It is dumb, but at the same time, it's also fairly smart as a satire. The thing is, the film really tows the line between sincerity and tongue in cheekness, and I think that's why some people really don't like this movie. A similar tactic was done with Tropic Thunder, but I think since these characters are so over the top that's what makes it hard for people to "get" this.

I'm not saying this film is genius, but I do think it is really funny even if it does get overbearing at times.

The concept is funny, the filmmakers clearly understand the world they're dealing with, and some of this satire is quite relevant and spot on. This is the kind of film that, in certain hands, would actually be a really harsh, serious, and damning film. Don't get me wrong, some of this is damning, but due to how it's done, it may not seem like it.

Stiller is a scream as Zoolander, Owen Wilson is lots of fun as Hansel, and Will Ferrell is an absolute scream as Mugatu. We also get Christine Taylor as a journalist trying to uncover the plot, Milla Jovovich as an intimidating henchwoman, and Jerry Stiller as a veteran agent/manager.

The film also has a crap load of cameos, but there's no way I'd be able to list them all here.

So yeah, there's decent performances, good writing, sharp ideas, and tons of laughs, so that should be enough to recommend this.
October 2, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

    1. Mugatu: I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! I invented the piano key necktie, I invented it!
    – Submitted by Desiree D (17 months ago)
    1. Hansel: Why don't you Derelick... my balls?
    2. Derek Zoolander: I can Derelick my own balls, thank you.
    – Submitted by Shane S (17 months ago)
    1. Mugatu: There the same damn look!
    – Submitted by Johnny W (17 months ago)
    1. Derek Zoolander: Just because we have chiseled abs and stunning features doesn't mean that we still can't not die in a freak gasolinefight accident.
    – Submitted by Tomas A (18 months ago)
    1. Derek Zoolander: Merman... MERMAN!
    – Submitted by Nicholas H (22 months ago)
    1. Matilda: I'm bulimic.
    2. Derek Zoolander: ... You mean you can read minds?
    – Submitted by Anthony B (2 years ago)
View all quotes (32)

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Foreign Titles

  • Zoolander (DE)
  • Zoolander (UK)
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