Zoolander (2001)

(In theaters, October 2001) Some comedies act a lot like mirrors, reflecting to us our own attitudes toward the film. If, say, you expect Zoolander to be dumb, well, it will be. If you expect it to be clever, it’ll be clever. It’s one of those stupid comedies by clever people, so deeper levels of comedy are available if ever the surface slapstick isn’t for you. As a spoof of the modeling world, it certainly reaches its target with the character of vacuous Derek Zoolander. Ben Stiller is as good as always as an actor and his directing skills are adequate for the job. A ton of cameos complete the fun, the best one of the bunch probably being David Bowie (Tam-tam-tadam-tam!) There are a few lengthier moments in the second half as the plot dynamics are advanced. (Of course, the best laughs come in the throwaway pieces in the first half.) Not a memorable film, but one that’ll lift your spirits on a depressing day. As long as you allow it to do so.

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