[Note: I wrote this review while employed at Paramount Pictures.]
Lately security has been very tight at my place of employment, so it almost seemed like they were not going to provide their routine free screening of Paramount films for employees. But 10 days after Zoolander's release, they decided to slip one in for those interested. I figured it was worth a free ticket, so I checked it out. As I had no expectations whatsoever for Zoolander, I wasn't really disappointed, but it's just another silly, forgettable dumdum comedy, so it's hard to put much effort into a review.
Stiller plays Derek Zoolander, the most handsome male model alive. (See, the joke is, Stiller is actually rather goofy-looking, get it?) Brainwashed by evil fashion designer Mugato (ubiquitous Paramount comedy costar Will Ferrell, doing his usual disturbing, slightly homoerotic shtick) into killing the Prime Minister of Malaysia, who has promised to end the practice of child labor in the garment industry, Derek mugs and moons and bumps his way through 90 minutes of fairly painless comedy surrounding this slight plot. Oh yeah, and Derek is also extremely stupid. As is his chief rival Hansel, another hot male model played by the decidedly non-hot Owen Wilson, a funny actor with one of the strangest-looking noses I've ever seen.
Anyway, you get the expected toilet gags (courtesy of Stiller's dad, Jerry), slapstick, and campiness, but mostly you get humor that's so dependent on the movie's wacky context that it doesn't stand up on its own: Zoolander is full of the corny cliches found in a thousand melodramas, and the joke is that this time you have male supermodels enacting them. That's fine, but Stiller is so dead-on with his cliches that I was left thinking, "Yeah, so? You're spoofing bad movie scenes. Tell me something I don't know."
Maybe Zoolander would have been a lot funnier if I was drunk. Still, I laughed a few times at the better jokes. But it's not like I ever need to see it again.