Making the Grades
Legally Blonde may have some brainless beauties but Zoolander is like, duh, worse. Completely clueless and totally self-absorbed, Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) is an aging male model losing his grip on the slippery pinnacle of fame to Hansel (Owen Wilson), the hottest new hunk on the catwalk. After the deaths of three modeling friends in a freak gasoline fight accident, Zoolander decides to retire from the fashion business and return to his New Jersey roots. But this pretty boy with the bristly hair trademark is an embarrassment to his coal mining family. Disowned by his father and totally abandoned by his brothers, Zoolander agrees to strut his stuff for a new agency run by the diabolical Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell).
But this fashion king has more than a kindly employment opportunity on his mind. Convinced that child labor laws are hurting his business, Mugato and his assistant Katinka (Milla Jovovich), invite the Malaysian prime minister responsible for these restrictions to attend the unveiling of their newest collection. Then the pair brainwash Zoolander, programming him to kill the politician. While Zoolander preens and preps for the show, a local reporter, Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor) uncovers some disturbing facts about Mugato's former models and the assassination plans.
Although Ben Stiller wrote, directed, and starred in this comical poke at the fashion world, his most amazing feat may be the PG-13 rating he aced for this highly sexual film. Along with the explicit discussion of one character's sex life, numerous sexual innuendos, and repeated depictions of crotch grabbing, Stiller includes an extended scene of drug-enhanced group sex and plentiful references to illegal substance use. Parents may also be concerned with the flippant response to one character's bulimia confession, the constant droning of "whatever" and disparaging remarks about the department store clothes most of us wear.
Living in the surreal world of glossy magazine covers and constant photo ops makes real life a challenge for the man with the chiseled abs, but even Zoolander's philanthropic desires to work with "children who don't read.... good," can't save this film from tripping up on the family entertainment runway.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Zoolander.
The scene at the gas station is acted out like a slick ad campaign where everyone is happy, smiling and having fun, even though they are engaged in a dangerous activity. Have you ever seen a commercial that promotes dangerous things in a positive and fun way? How much do you think advertising affects you?
Bulimia is a serious eating disorder that affects many teens and young adults. Individuals or families concerned about this problem should contact their local doctor. You can find more information on the Internet, at your local library, or health center.
Home Video Viewing Alternatives
Here are some ideas for home video titles that are related to Zoolander.