Monday, March 07, 2005

Zoolander - One-Note Stiller

I was having dinner with a friend of mine when we started discussing Ben Stiller movies. Ben Stiller movies are proliferating like crazy, sort of like Adam Sandler movies, and are usually marked by a certain quirkiness. Ben himself is very deeply involved in creating most of his movies, and if they're not wonderfully scripted they're at least terrifically cast.

My friend mentioned "Zoolander," one of Ben's that, unlike most of his movies, was not a hit. Then my friend said those words that cause that old vinyl record to go bumping against its needle: "You might want to check it out. It's not....half bad. In fact, it's sorta funny." Screeeeeeech!! Despite my mind's numbing alarm, I decided to check it out.

Zoolander is a male model. That's basically the whole premise. No brains, no social conscience, no sense of humor. Ben Stiller's "sweet simpleton who never hurt a fly" (as his own boss puts it, played by Ben's own father) is the same joke, over and over. That's the good part. As you can probably guess, that's also the bad part.

But although monotonous, the one-joke is pretty funny. He's got that pretty little pout, continually aware that he's terribly good looking, coiffed just right, striking a pose as he walks down the catwalk of The Big Apple. When Zoolander walks into the coal mine in an outlandish snake suit. just to say "hi" and "can I work here too now that I'm quitting the model business?" to his father and brothers, I had to stifle a growing belly laugh.

The jokes are monotonous, yes, but they often dip into toilet humor. So we have the same note of a star, coupled with really low, stupid jokes, sometimes really involving toilets. Color that worse.

I must admit that I had an emergency and couldn't watch this film all the way through. The emergency: My Tivo set ran out of recording time. I hit delete without remorse.


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