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Caller From LA Catwalks With ZOOLANDER!!

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

I've got buddies who are in this one, and I certainly hope it turns out to be good. However, the word so far is mixed, and I know they've done a lot of reshooting and tweaking. Ben Stiller is one of those guys I always root for, so I hope Caller From LA's muted response to the film is just a case of different tastes. Anyway... check out what he has to say on the subject...

Here is a non-spoiler review of Zoolander.

A previous reviewer wrote that "Zoolander is the next big thing." I'm glad the reviewer enjoyed the film, but for me, it was more like Zoolander is the next Mystery Men - a great premise with a flawed delivery, but still it's an okay comedy. The best gags in the film are only slightly better than the ones in the trailer, but the problem is that the jokes are too far between each other.

The Setup. Zoolander (Ben Stiller) is THE male supermodel of Manhattan. Writer Matilda (Christine Taylor) has shown that he is vain and extremely stupid in her TIME magazine article. Upstart model Hansel (Owen Wilson) is on all the hot fashion 'zine covers. And if that's not bad enough, Mugatu (Will Ferrell) is an evil designer who brainwashes Zoolander to kill the president of Malaysia. Yes, that IS what I wrote.

The Good. Owen Wilson had some of the best lines with his Dennis Hopper / L.A. surfer / model character, and the film's best points occur when he's in the story. Overall, I can think of three sequences in the film that provided big laughs. Chuckles were disbursed every two minutes or so.

The Flawed. Let me compare this to another recent film, the delightful Rush Hour 2. While RH2 is a comedy-action (in that order), Zoolander is a comedy-blah. The 'blah' parts are given to the straight characters to move the plot along, jokes that go on too long (a Stiller staple), and about 30 cameos just for the sake of having cameos. I give exception for 2 smartly cast cameos that actually got clapping applauses at their moments.

Part of my problem is that I don't want my Ben Stiller to be stupid. Stiller is the intelligent, insightful comic who caught my generation's eye with his wit and cultural knowledge. And there's not nearly enough of Will Ferrell.

Directed by Ben "Cable Guy" Stiller. Written by Ben Stiller and Drake Slather (first produced screenplay) and John "Meet the Parents" Hamburg. IMDB gives a U.S. release date of September 28.


--Caller From L.A.

Small plug: For AICN's own FilmFemme, frequently seen in the chatroom, whose short film "Mary Holy" is now at IFILM. You can GET IT HERE!!!

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