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Zoolander on DVD

There's good, there's bad, and there's so bad it's good. Zoolander falls into the final category.

Based on some short sketches Ben Stiller did for VH1, Zoolander is about VH1's three-time male model of the year, Derek Zoolander (Stiller). He loses his title to Hansel (Owen Wilson), and immediately becomes distraught and retires. But the evil Mugatu (Will Ferrell) brings him out of retirement, claiming he wants Derek to be the attraction for his new clothing line.

What he really wants, however, is for Derek to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Since Derek is quite possibly the stupidest person on the planet, he's easily hypnotized and coaxed into doing the deed, but he has to enlist the help of his arch-nemesis (Hansel), and an annoying news reporter, Matilda (Christine Taylor) in order to save the world.

Zoolander (not just the character, but the movie as well) is extremely stupid. It's probably the stupidest movie I've seen since Dude, Where's My Car? But for some reason, it's also quite amusing. Every joke in the movie is extremely obvious, and many of them are so obvious they're not even funny. Yet you can't help but laugh.

Stiller, Wilson, Ferrell, Taylor, and the supporting cast are great. The supporters include Milla Jovovich, Jerry Stiller, Jon Voight and David Duchovny, and there are cameos by a multitude of famous faces.

Zoolander is the kind of film where you can check your brain at the door and just sit back and enjoy it. Sure, it's self-indulgent, and probably insulting in its stupidity, but it's entertaining.

And isn't that really what it's all about?

It's nice to see Paramount getting better when it comes to DVDs. Some theatrical releases are actually getting the special edition treatment now, instead of just classic titles. Zoolander sports a great audio and video transfer, as well as a lot more extras than on the average Paramount release.

The picture is very good, presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen (16x9 TV compatible). There are lots of bright colors, and they come across very well. Occasionally, some of the characters' faces do seem to get drowned out a bit in the abundance of color, but other than that it's pretty smooth.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track, unfortunately, seems to suffer the same fate as many others, in that it doesn't get used as well as it should. There's a lot of music that takes advantage of the surround speakers, and some sound effects here and there, but otherwise the audio seems to be confined to the front for the most part. Granted, Zoolander is a comedy and doesn't need the surround as much as other movies, but it's always nice to be enveloped in sound in the home theater.

Now we get to the extras, which are the highlight of this disc. First up is a very entertaining commentary by Ben Stiller and writers Drake Sather and John Hamburg. These guys are funny, informative, and make for a very nice listen.

There are five deleted scenes with optional Stiller commentary, as well as five extended scenes, also with optional commentary. Some are okay, but some were rightfully cut. Next up are some unfortunately unfunny outtakes, the two VH1 fashion awards skits on which the movie was based, a music video, and an alternate end title sequence.

For Paramount this is a very good disc. I just wish it had been a very good movie.

Zoolander, from Paramount Home Entertainment
89 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16X9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Christine Taylor and Jon Voight
Produced by Scott Rudin, Ben Stiller, Stuart Cornfeld
Written by Drake Sather & Ben Stiller and John Hamburg
Directed by Ben Stiller


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Updated May 13, 2006