The first time I saw this, it didn't compute- I thought it was one of the most asinine things I'd ever seen. Later I saw it again, and it began to work its magic on me. I've since seen it many times, and its fatuousness (i.e., DUMB but grandiose, self-important) slyly mirrors its subject matter, the fashion industry and cults of celebrity in general. I've told several people what a great movie I think Zoolander is and most think I'm nuts, but it's now a staple of my video collection, along with other great sendups/ mockumentaries, such as Christopher Guest's films, along with [[ASIN:B007QA3AH2 Galaxy Quest]] and [[ASIN:B004ZISVRW Trollhunter]].
It's patently absurd, often hilarious. Could there BE an industry more deserving of being so mercilessly lampooned? IMO, people who take the fashion industry as something to live and die by, something sacrosanct, should have THEIR eyes stitched open, a la [[ASIN:B002M87WLI A Clockwork Orange]] and be forced to watch Zoolander over and over until they're deprogrammed.
I'm an avid Project Runway fan, which celebrates individuality, innovation. Fashion is supposed to be about SELF-EXPRESSION. Heidi Klum rarely looks like anyone else- unlike other models has meat on her bones, curves, and changes her look/style from day to day (often wearing a ponytail and no makeup at all). What I decry are the masses who march like mindless drones or lemmings to the sea (well, not march, exactly, more like shuffle, in stiletto heels), in skinny jeans (or with Kewpie doll hairdos, in the case of males), looking neither left nor right, raccoon-like "smoky" eyes glued to phones or tablets, lest they miss the latest pearl of wisdom to issue from sage lips of the likes of Kim Kardashian or Justin Bieber. A few still sport those short, imbecilic Bozo the Clown inspired dos with the little flips on either side of the face, worn a few years back by women old and young, tall and short, fat and thin alike, whether flattering or not, mostly NOT (why not just wear a T-shirt proclaiming "I'm a NITWIT- do with me what you will"?), or, the now obligatory long, wavy, yak-hair extended and mousse-laden tresses effected by 94.53% of the women in this country (home of the free, land of the brave), who look to be fresh off the assembly line at Mattel. These are people who can VOTE and operate heavy machinery. Mind-boggling.
But seriously, you see very little of this on TV and in films from other countries (except possibly Mexico, and to some extent, Japan)- in European productions people look like individuals, all different, with their OWN style. Zoolander parodies the mindless sheeple who idolize fashion and its icons, based on little more than surface appearance and hype, and renders equally ridiculous the icons themselves- fatuous self-promoters who often come to believe their own schtick, seeing themselves as profoundly important in the cosmic scheme of things and managing to persuade legions of undiscriminating fans, inexplicably, that they're special and worthy of adulation, despite ALL evidence to the contrary, and that they're deserving of obscene amounts of devotees' hard-earned cash. Will Farrell as idiot fashion designer Mugatu, portrays such an icon to comedic perfection.
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ferrell, as fashion superstars, and Christine Taylor, as the canny investigative reporter who pulls back the curtain to reveal the wizard, are all inspired and marvelous, patently absurd. And I love the many cameos by celebrities, e.g., David Bowie (yeah!), an individualist if ever there was one, and a stammering, off-kilter Natalie Portman, completely star-struck by the great Derrick Zoolander. The movie is studded with priceless lines, such as Owen Wilson's as supermodel Hansel- [I paraphrase]: "Sting is such a hero of mine, all the music he's made over the years... I don't actually LISTEN to it, but I respect him for doing it..." and: "I wasn't like other kids, who wanted to be astronauts or the president... I was more interested in what bark is made of."
Yeah, there are a few dumb scenes, (SPOILER ALERT), such as the orgy scene, or the model walk-off challenge with the ultimate test being the removal of undies without taking off one's trousers. But there are many more great ones, such as the one wherein Derrick and Hansel disguise themselves as janitors, or those in which a lost, dispirited Derrick leaves modeling to try his hand at coal mining, to Dad Jon Voight's utter horror (Voight is GREAT, as always, and in this case, hilarious). The film, from start to finish, is SO silly, delightfully GOOFY. Zoolander's heart is in the right place, it's so thoroughly good-natured in its lambasting of the fashion world, resonant with good will and affection between its players and towards all concerned- it's really something special. Great, satisfying ending, good music too!