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Zoolander Review

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With child labour ‘under threat’, the fashion industry talks male model Derek Zoolander into attempting an assassination. Can Derek hold out, with the help of a friendly female journalist, and his rival, Hansel?

★★★★★

Some actors practically guarantee quality: Kevin Spacey, for example (we’ll ignore Pay It Forward, as indeed everyone should). Inversely, Chris Klein’s name above the title is ominous indeed. Meanwhile, Will Ferrell is fast becoming a byword for patchy but funny all-star spoofs. This month alone, he over-acts wildly in Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, and again here as the flamboyant fashion designer criminal mastermind, Mugatu. The message is clear: if you see Ferrell, stick around.Stiller’s first directorial effort since 1996’s under-rated The Cable Guy is a mostly successful and unashamed attempt to make an utterly lunatic camp comedy, anchored superbly by its multi-tasking star. Based on a character Stiller debuted at the 1996 VH1 Fashion Awards (VH1 must have a sense of humour; it co-produced), Zoolander trades on the hold-the-front-page premise that male models are stupid. And so Stiller ladles on the hit-and-miss dumb jokes — including a priceless 2001 pisstake — thick and fast.Likewise the star cameos, the Stiller Rolodex proffering the likes of David Duchovny as a — ho! — conspiracy theorist, David Bowie as himself, Vince Vaughn as Zoolander’s perpetually appalled, perpetually silent brother, and family members (Taylor is aka Mrs. Stiller, while Jerry Stiller — Daddy! — is Zoolander’s crotchety agent). And, amidst the home video antics, Stiller dovetails perfectly with the unfathomably cool Wilson, so much so that you wish the ‘world’s top male models’ (worth a laugh in itself) shared more screentime.And while Zoolander’s okay US performance may have killed a sequel, its close cousin Austin Powers (witness the zany tone, the incompetent, sex-obsessed hero and — blimey! — Will Ferrell) discovered hit status on video. If justice prevails, this will, too.

It’s Ben Stiller hitting you over the head with a stupid stick, which, if you’re an <b>Austin Powers</b> fan, you’ll dig. At times <b>Zoolander</b> threatens to disappear up its own catwalk, but it’s often very funny stuff.