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Zoolander (2001)

PG-13 | | Comedy | 28 September 2001 (USA)
At the end of his career, a clueless fashion model is brainwashed to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia.


Ben Stiller


Drake Sather (character Derek Zoolander), Ben Stiller (character Derek Zoolander) | 5 more credits »
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1 win & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Stiller ... Derek Zoolander
Owen Wilson ... Hansel
Christine Taylor ... Matilda Jeffries
Will Ferrell ... Mugatu
Milla Jovovich ... Katinka
Jerry Stiller ... Maury Ballstein
David Duchovny ... J.P. Prewitt
Jon Voight ... Larry Zoolander
Judah Friedlander ... Scrappy Zoolander
Nathan Lee Graham ... Todd
Alexandre Manning Alexandre Manning ... Brint (as Alexander Manning)
Asio Highsmith ... Rufus
Alexander Skarsgård ... Meekus
Donald Trump ... Donald Trump
Christian Slater ... Christian Slater


Derek Zoolander is VH1's three time male model of the year, but when Hansel wins the award instead, Zoolander's world becomes upside down. His friends disappear, his father is disappointed in him, and he feels that he's not good as a model anymore. But when evil fashion guru Mugatu hires Zoolander, he thinks his life has turned back round again, that is until he finds out that Mugatu has actually brainwashed him to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Can Zoolander and his new friends find out how to prevent the incident before it's too late? Written by FilmFanUK

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


3% Body Fat. 1% Brain Activity.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 on appeal for sexual content and drug references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Germany | USA



Release Date:

28 September 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Derek Zoolander See more »


Box Office


$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,525,043, 30 September 2001

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to an interview with Ben Stiller, this movie started out as a character sketch for VH1 Fashion Awards. After several written scripts and over several years, the studio finally agreed to film it. The movie's release immediately followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and has been cited as a reason for its "failure" at the box-office. (It didn't fail, it just performed below expectations, and yielded a small profit.) See more »


When Derek is being interviewed before the Male Model of the Year Awards, the flashes of the photographers can be seen reflecting off the background/other people, yet when the camera *shows* the photographers with their cameras, the flashes of light do not come from the cameras themselves, but rather from above. See more »


[first lines]
(Announcer): And here in Malaysia, there is an almost overwhelming sense of euphoria as the newly-elected prime minister has given this nation a gift of hope promising to raise the substandard minimum wage and end child labor once and for all. Already considered a living saint he has become this small country's greatest hope for a thriving future in the new millennium.
See more »

Alternate Versions

On the DVD, as an extra, there is an alternate version of the end credits, which features various clips from the movie, and Will Ferrell dancing. See more »


Referenced in Norman Lovett: Outside the Box (2012) See more »


Bossa and Cheese
by P.C. Irving
Courtesy of Megatrax Production Music, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

Zoolander is funny enough to excuse for how spectacularly goofy it gets
14 October 2017 | by Screen_BlitzSee all my reviews

Ben Stiller is the titular character of this comedy that does not believe in being particularly smart. It is dumb, but with such infectious comedic energy by Stiller and friend Owen Wilson poured on screen, it is funny enough to look past how ridiculous it gets. Stiller, also filling in the director's chair, conducts a comedy that lends a satirical look at the modeling industry and how competition can bring out both the best and the worst in those who compete for the big prize. This is where the small, but significant amount of cleverness comes into the picture. But it is Stiller and Wilson are smoke the air with their comedic energy to make this into a film that offers just enough laughs and fun to compensate for its short runtime. While it certainly isn't consistently funny, with occasional botched attempts at humor, it knows how to tickle the funny bone for a film that resists against engaging the brain. This film follows acclaimed fashion model Derek Zoolander (played by Ben Stiller), a three-time consecutive award winner who is on his way to claiming his fourth prize as "Model of The Year". All this hopes are eventually crushed when the prize goes to his rival Hansel (played by Owen Wilson). To make matters worse, he find himself on the cover of a magazine mocked as an "idiot" by columnist Matilda (played by Christine Taylor). Throwing in the towel, Zoolander decides to pursue on a new path, possibly opening up an institute for children who have trouble reading. His goals are soon put a halt by dubious fashion designer Mugatu (played by Will Ferrell) who uses a machine to brainwash him into killing the prime minister of Malaysia as an outcry against child labor. With this mind out of whack, you must turn to Matilda and form a bond with his rival Hansel to help from committing this diabolical plot.

Ben Stiller leads a cast of comedic veterans who seem to have fun acting like dimwits, and the result is a ride through whacky stupidity. But if you are willing to scoot past the dominating stupidity and the politically offensive plot of assassinating a foreign leader for a debatable cause, you are rewarded with a hilarious good time. This film offers a clever escapism into dumb territory where acting foolish equates to gut-busting laughter and its cast prove their ability for displaying solid comedic timing, even when it fails on an occasional basis. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson cook up an infectious comic energy in nearly scene they both meet on screen, and the energy unravels into funny laugh-out-loud sequences including a fashion showdown scene, another segment owing homage to '2001: A Space Odyssey', and the final scene showcasing their attempts at turning the tables on the comically antagonistic Will Ferrell. Supplementing these scenes are loads of unexpected celebrity cameos including David Bowie, Natalie Portman, Lenny Kravitz, Cuba Gooding Jr. and many others. On the other hand, there are moments where the cast falls shorts when taking a stab at the funny bone, whether it is from attempting slapstick gags that are better fit for 'The Three Stooges', or spewing vulgar, but PG-13 friendly dialogue. No need to worry though, Stiller, Wilson, and Ferrell manage to compensate for some of the dull moments. Christine Taylor, Stiller's wife, and Jerry Stiller (playing Zoolander's agent), his dad, have a few good lines, but perhaps not enough to count for memorable roles. For Taylor, her most memorable would be an orgy scene that demands for editing cuts when the film was initially slapped with an R-rating.

Zoolander is a comedy loaded with laughter and infectious charisma, and Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Will Ferrell deserve the credit for this. Yes, it is goofy, but it is a goofy ride that is worth hopping into if you are hungry for some feel-good laughs. While the movie isn't consistently with its hilarity, it is definitely enough to warrant a viewing for a fair number of comedic fanatics.

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