It’s time for me to take a break from volunteering at the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Who Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too in order to commemorate the 20th anniversary of — what else could it be? — Zoolander.
One of the most stupid-funny movies I’ve ever seen, Zoolander hit theaters on this day in 2001 and introduced the world to Ben Stiller’s idiotic, self-absorbed male model: Derek Zoolander. Derek made his mark on the fashion world by perfecting his special brand of “looks,” from “Le Tigre” to “Magnum” to “Blue Steel.” We also met his nemesis, fellow male model Hansel (Owen Wilson), and the nefarious fashion magnate Mugatu (Will Ferrell), who pulls Zoolander unknowingly into a murder-for-hire plot by brainwashing him to carry out orders whenever he hears the 1983 hit song “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
With more cameos than you could possibly believe, more weird twists than any sane person could follow, and more clever commentary on the fashion industry than you’d expect, Zoolander was really a one-of-a-kind comedy. While 2016’s Zoolander 2: The Magnum Edition was, in my opinion, not able to recreate the original’s magic, the two films still make a great excuse for a double-feature.
What’s interesting to me as I think back on Zoolander is that while Ben Stiller was already well-known to mainstream movie audiences at the time thanks to hits like Reality Bites and There’s Something About Mary, Will Ferrell was still a Saturday Night Live cast member (albeit a very well-known one!) in 2001, and Owen Wilson was not yet a household name, with his major roles being mostly in indies before Zoolander, with the exception of Shanghai Noon alongside Jackie Chan in 2000.
But after Zoolander, the three not only all became — and remained — A-list stars, but they also continued to partner up in movies again and again. In fact, Wilson and Stiller have been in 16 (!!!) movies together in total, including the successful Night at the Museum trilogy, as well as the Meet the Parents trilogy. And who can forget Ferrell’s cameo in Wedding Crashers with Wilson and Vince Vaughn?
So the big question is, will there ever be a Zoolander 3? There’s been no serious talk of it, though hope springs eternal. Right now, I think Derek is simply taking some time off to follow through on his plan. In his own words: “I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.” Enjoy your search, Derek. We’ll be here when you decide to resurface. But in the meantime, happy 20th anniversary of Zoolander!