[box cover]

Zoolander

Tyson Bedford, eat your heart out. Because when it comes to the pinnacle of chiseled male-modelhood, no one holds a candle to... Ben Stiller? The short, heavy-browed funnyman might not be everyone's natural pick as a top catwalkin' chap, but when he dons the bushy hair, designer duds, and icy "Blue Steel" gaze of Derek Zoolander, Stiller can sashay with the best of them (as long as he doesn't have to turn left). And while Zoolander the movie — like Zoolander the model — is a little light on brains, it definitely has its moments. The lighter-than-chiffon fashion-world-conspiracy plot (male models have been the world's foremost brainwashed assassins for hundreds of years) basically provides a framework for Stiller to expand on the dim-bulb character he and screenwriter Drake Sather originally developed for a 1996 VH1 Fashion Awards sketch. Derek is at his best when he's prancing around with his "really, really, really good looking" male model roommates or facing off against arch rival Hansel (Owen Wilson), not when he and foxy Time magazine reporter Matilda (Christine Taylor, Stiller's wife) are dodging bullets in a cemetery while they try to dig up dirt on ultra-fey designer Mugatu (Will Ferrell). The movie's set pieces — the awards ceremony, Derek and Hansel's "walk-off," Mugagu's "Derelicte" fashion show — are generally funny, if a little long in spots. Actually, that's Zoolander's main failing — it never quite feels like it made it past the awards-show sketch phase. Nevertheless, those who appreciate Stiller and Wilson's brand of humor (which the duo demonstrated to much better effect in Meet the Parents) will love the details of their characterizations (particularly Hansel's extreme-sports-guy-meets-laid-back-hippie lifestyle) and get a kick out of the movie's lighthearted spoof of all those fashionistas who take themselves a little too seriously. Zoolander is no lightweight on DVD — Paramount's disc is packed with more extras than Derek has "looks." In addition to a wry, informative commentary by writer/director/star Stiller and screenwriters Sather and John Hamburg, open Zoolander's closet and you'll find the original '96 and 1997 VH1 Fashion Awards skits that inspired the movie (it's interesting to see how little Derek changed from small screen to large), six and a half minutes of outtakes, extended and deleted scenes with optional commentary by Stiller, photo galleries, promotional spots (including three that parody MTV's "Cribs" series), a video for the Wiseguys' "Start the Commotion," and an alternate end-title sequence. The anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) is as pretty as Hansel, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio makes even Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" sound good (other options include English 2.0, French 2.0, and English subtitles). Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech



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