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[[caption-width-right:200:Derek Zoolander: Really Really Really Ridiculously Good Looking[[TradeSnark ™]] ]]
-> ''"For the last decade, male modelling has been dominated by one name, and five syllables: Der! Ek! Zoo! Lan! DER!"''

A 2001 comedy film directed by and starring Creator/BenStiller, co-starring Creator/OwenWilson, Creator/WillFerrell, Christine Taylor, Creator/MillaJovovich, Jerry Stiller, and Creator/JonVoight.

Derek Zoolander (Stiller) is a [[MemeticMutation really, really ridiculously good-looking]] male model, who also happens to be incredibly shallow and not too bright. He suffers a professional and personal setback when he loses the Male Model of the Year crown to rookie Hansel ("he's so hot right now") and three of his friends to a [[TooDumbToLive freak gasoline fight accident]].

His manager Maury Ballstein sends him to a week-long day spa, but it turns out to be a brainwashing center, where Derek becomes a sleeper agent programmed to assassinate the prime minister of Malaysia, who is obstructing the fashion industry's use of cheap Malaysian sweatshop labor. It's up to Derek, his love interest Matilda, and his rival-turned-friend Hansel ([[RunningGag "he's so hot right now"]]) to foil this plot and help Derek live past thirty.

A sequel, ''Film/{{Zoolander 2}}'', was released in 2016.

!!This film has examples of:

* TenMinuteRetirement: Derek announces his retirement at his friends’ funeral, but soon after reverses his decision [[KnowWhenToFoldEm after working for just one day in the coal mines]].
* TheEighties: Though the movie takes place at the TurnOfTheMillennium, all of the [[{{Montage}} music montages]] feature songs from TheEighties.
** "Call Me" by Music/{{Blondie}} plays during the Opening Credits Montage, which introduces all the main characters.
** "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by [[Music/GeorgeMichael Wham!]] plays during the drive to the gas station and while the male models are drenching themselves in gasoline. [[MoodWhiplash It abruptly stops when... you know]].
** "Working for the Weekend" by Music/{{Loverboy}} plays during Derek’s parody HardWorkMontage in the coal mines.
** "Relax" by Music/FrankieGoesToHollywood plays throughout Derek’s Hypnosis Montage and becomes his MusicalTrigger to assassinate the Malaysian Prime Minister.
** "[[Music/{{Thriller}} Beat It]]" by Music/MichaelJackson plays during the Walk Off Montage. There’s also a quick line of Music/DavidBowie’s song "Let’s Dance" when Bowie appears to serve as the judge.
** TheSeventies cameo: "Love to Love You Baby" by Music/DonnaSummer plays during the [[SexMontage Orgy Montage]].
* AdamWesting: A number of real-life celebrities make cameo appearances in the film. The one who plays the most on his image is probably Fabio, who appears at the beginning of the film, accepting the "slashie" award for "best model slash actor" and "not the other way around". Fabio-esque male models are the main brunt on the film's satire.
* Music/AlsoSprachZarathustra: Part of a ShoutOut to ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey''.
* AnswerCut: When Mugatu is told in the opening scene that he needs to find someone dim enough to be brainwashed into the assassination plot:
-->'''Mugatu''': But who?! Where in all of God's green goodness am I gonna find someone that....BEEF-HEADED?!
-->*cut to Derek Zoolander photoshoot*
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: After giving Derek a LongList of what he's supposed to do as an assassin, Mugatu adds: "Obey my dog!"
* ArtisticLicenseGeography: PlayedForLaughs with the coal mines of South Jersey - the actual South Jersey is fairly flat and consists primarily of coastal plains and farmland.
%%* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: Katinka Inka Babovinanana.
* BabiesEverAfter: The ending. Derek's son even adopts his first look: a pout reminiscent of his father's.
%%* BackhandedApology: The {{Jerkass}} version gets used twice.
%%* TheBaroness: Katinka.
* BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy: The fashion industry has been behind every major assassination for the past 200 years, using male models as assassins, including the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
* BerserkButton: Zoolander loses his temper when Mugatu considers all of his modeling looks one and the same.
* BigBad: Mugatu is the main antagonist of the film.
* BigDamnHeroes: During the finale of the film, [[spoiler:Hansel and Ballstein help snap Zoolander out of his trance to kill the Malaysian Prime Minister]].
* BigNo: Derek's reaction when he realizes his friends are about to [[ManOnFire get burned to death]] by a carelessly lit cigarette courtesy of Brint.
* BrainlessBeauty: Male models (although according to David Duchovny's character, hand models "work differently"). Also, Fabio is apparently too smart for the job that Mugatu brainwashed Derek to do.
* BrickJoke: "Derek, you did it!" "I know, I turned left!"
* BuffySpeak: The Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too.
* TheCameo: Lots, from the celebrities at the fashion show in the opening part of the film to Billy Zane's memetic role to David Bowie as the walkoff judge, and lots more where that came from. Also includes James Marsden in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot as John Wilkes Booth during the assassination exposition.
* CaptainOblivious: The runway competition.
* CatapultNightmare: Derek wakes up from his brainwashing session by smashing his head into the top of his bunk bed, then rolling out onto the floor.
* CatchPhrase: Mugatu's variations on Hansel being "so hot right now."
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: [[RhymesOnADime Rhymes with "Derek Zoolander".]]
%%* CharacterTitle: Zoolander
* ChekhovsGag: Derek's initial brainwashing from Mugatu involves cardboard cutouts of "beautiful celebrities," including [[Music/NSync Lance Bass,]] Music/LilKim, [[Music/LimpBizkit Fred Durst]], and..... [[spoiler: [[TheLastOfTheseIsNotLikeTheOthers Garry Shandling]]. Sure enough, when it comes time for the assassination attempt, the celebrities lining the stage are all the celebrities from the former sequence. ''Including'' Garry Shandling.]]
* ChekhovsGun: [[spoiler: Magnum, and Hansel's yoyo skills.]]
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: When Mugatu shows Derek a model for the “Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too,” Derek thinks the model is the actual school and destroys it in a rage.
-->'''Derek''': What is this? ''<<[[ScaleModelDestruction smashes the model on the floor]]>>'' A center for ''ants''?!
-->'''Mugatu''': What?
-->'''Derek''': How can we expect to teach children to learn how to read if they even fit inside the building?
-->'''Mugatu''': Derek, it’s just a small—
-->'''Derek''': I don’t hear your excuses! The center has to be at least … three times bigger than this.
** Also, this exchange at the film's climax.
--> '''Matilda:''' Derek, you did it!
--> '''Derek:''' I know! I turned left!
--> '''Matilda:''' (beat) That too, but you also saved the Prime Minister of Malaysia!
--> '''Derek:''' Oh. Cool.
* CompetenceZone: None of the male models lives past thirty (except the precious few who wise up and retire beforehand), something that TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness ruthlessly enforces.
* ConspiracyKitchenSink: According to J.P. Prewett, pretty much every assassination in history can be traced back to the international fashion industry.
--> '''Matilda:''' Wait a minute, Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't a male model.
--> '''Prewett:''' You're goddamn right he wasn't, but those two lookers on the Grassy Knoll sure as shit were!
* ConvectionSchmonvection: Derek is completely unharmed by the massive gasoline fire, despite being only a few feet away.
* CookingDuel: The runway walk-off.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: The fashion industry executives.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Derek and Hansel may be male models and dumb as rocks as a result, but Derek's looks can stop flying shurikens in mid-air and Hansel is a skilled breakdance fighter.
* CymbalBangingMonkey: In a flashback, Derek is briefly shown dressed up as one, while an off-screen voice commands him to "dance, monkey, dance!"
%%* DanceBattler: "They're breakdance fighting!"
%%* DarkActionGirl: Katinka, who is also TheDragon.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment:
--> '''Hansel:''' "And I felt like this guy is really hurting me. And it hurt!"
--> '''Derek:''' Maybe you don't understand that the world doesn't revolve around you and your "Do whatever it takes, ruin as many people's lives, just so long as you can make a name for yourself as an investigatory journalist, no matter how many friends you lose, or people you leave dead and bloodied along the way, just so long as you can make a name for yourself as an investigatory journalist, no matter how many friends you lose, or people you leave dead and bloodied and dying along the way?"
%%* DirtyOldMan: Maury Ballstein.
%%* DisneyAcidSequence: The drug-fueled orgy.
* DullSurprise: All of Derek's so-called "looks" are nigh-identical (however, his "Magnum" look stops a shuriken in mid-air. Even Mugatu is wowed: "Dear god, it's beautiful!").
** There is a difference between Magnum and all the rest: [[ChekhovsSkill he turns left]] before delivering it. Less [[BuffySpeak mindblowing-ly]], his head is also vertical, as opposed to the angle his other looks were at.
* DumbassHasAPoint: Derek and Hansel, probably two of the dimmest bulbs in all of cinema, somehow manage to make truly poignant and insightful observations about what's going on, adding to some of the surprisingly subtle moments of the film's humor.
* DumbBlonde: A male example with Hansel. He has blonde hair and isn't one of the brightest models in the film.
* EveryoneHasStandards: Derek may be dumb, but he knows that lighting a cigarette in a gas station is a bad idea, as his model friends found out the hard way.
* FallingInLoveMontage: Parodied in the orgy scene, where Matilda begins by making out with Derek and Hansel, and then the partners get a little... weird.
* FashionDesigner: Mugatu designs many of the clothes modeled, and he is credited with creating the piano necktie.
* FashionModel: The main character is a male supermodel.
* FashionShow: The finale takes place at one (as an assassination is supposed to take place there), and the film has a few others.
* FireForgedFriends: Derek and Hansel started as the worst of enemies but when things get ugly they become the best of friends.
* FormerlyFat: Matilda was an overweight child in her youth before she developed bulimia and lost weight.
* FreudianExcuse: Matilda was ridiculed and laughed at because of her being overweight as a child to the point that she developed bulimia. Since then, she believes models would hurt one's self-esteem.
* GeniusDitz: Derek (and most everyone associated with the fashion industry) is a complete moron, but when it comes to fashion, make-up and just improving one's physical appearance he is a genius.
** On a more tragic note, even ''he'' [[SmartBall isn't dumb enough]] [[OhCrap to not know what happens]] [[BigNo when you light a cigarette in the middle of a gasoline fight]].
* GlowingEyesOfDoom: Mugatu's toy poodle; during the brainwashing sequence, its eyes flash bright green.
* GreaterScopeVillain: The conglomerate of fashion moguls Mugatu answers to.
* HardWorkMontage: Derek’s time in the coal mine is a parody, as Derek acts as though he expects the work to operate like a montage. He dresses accordingly.
* HeroicBSOD: Derek when Hansel wins the Male Model of the Year and when his friends are killed in a freak gasoline fight accident.
* HiddenDepths: Derek can speak Malay.
* HistoricalRapSheet: Brainwashed male models set in motion by an evil council of fashion designers have had a hand in every major assassination attempt, beginning with Lincoln and on up through JFK. ItMakesSenseInContext. Kind of.
* IdiotBall: PlayedForLaughs of course. Seriously, Derek and Hansel in particular are dumber than a bag of hammers. Though Hansel seems to have a few more IQ points than Derek, he's still as much of a ditz because he is way more spaced-out than Derek.
* IdiotHero: Derek.
* IdiotSavant: Derek knows everything about the modelling world and is an expert in many modelling-related skills. He recognizes J.P. Prewitt's hand from a specific catalog in the 70s even though hand modelling isn't Derek's specialty.
* InformedAttractiveness: Ben Stiller as a model? Owen Wilson?! Chalk it up to RuleOfFunny.
%%* InsistentTerminology: Mer''man''!
* IntrepidReporter: Matilda, who has a [[FreudianExcuse special hatred]] for models.
* ItIsPronouncedTroPAY: Mugatu's new campaign, "Derelicte".
* ItsAllAboutMe: At the start of the film, Derek is a self-absorbed but friendly model.
* JanitorImpersonationInfiltration: Hansel and Derek disguise themselves as janitors to find Mugatu's files on his computer.
* {{Joisey}}: At one point, Derek goes to work with his family in the coal mines of South Jersey. [[ArtisticLicenseGeography The real South Jersey is a coastal plain.]]
* KarmaHoudini: Maury Ballstein. At the end, he admits to having been in on the child labor conspiracy for almost all of his career. However, he does not seem to have been punished in any way.
** Presumably he would get immunity in exchange for his testimony. The sequel confirms he asked for relocation in the witness protection program.
* LameComeback: Derek to Hansel leading up to the walk-off challenge.
-->'''Derek:''' You think that you're too cool for school, but I have a newsflash for you Walter Cronkite... you aren't.
* LampshadeHanging: see OnlySaneMan below.
* LaserGuidedTykebomb: Derek gets brainwashed into this.
* LoveEpiphany: Parodied.
-->'''Derek:''' There was a moment last night, when she was sandwiched between the two Finnish dwarfs and the Maori tribesmen, where I thought, "Wow, I could really spend the rest of my life with this woman."
* {{Malaproper}}: Derek, of course.
-->'''Derek:''' Or are you here to tell me what a bad eugoogolizer I am?\\
'''Matilda:''' A what?\\
'''Derek:''' A eugoogolizer... one who speaks at funerals. ''[after a confused look from Matilda]'' Or did you think I was too stupid to know what a eugoogoly was?
* ManchurianAgent: After he gets brainwashed, the song "Relax" causes him to become an assassin.
%%* TheManInTheMirrorTalksBack
* ManipulativeBastard: Mugatu. He offered Derek to participate in a runway show, brainwashing him to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia so they can maintain child labor in that country. In short, he attempts to make Derek's life miserable.
* ManOnFire: Brint lights up a cigarette at a gas station causing the exposed gasoline to destroy the station and immolate Derek's model friends.
%%* MissingMom: Derek's mom is dead.
* MisspellingOutLoud: Used by Derek to explain to Mathilda why he couldn't have been missing for a week:
-->'''Derek''': Uh, earth to Mathilda! I was at a day spa. Day. D-A-I-Y-E. Ok?
* ModelingPoses: Derek has two poses as his signature moves (even though they are the same).
* MoodWhiplash: Derek's model friends are having fun at the gas station to help cheer him up. Unfortunately for them, the mood shifts when they and the station are blown up by Brint's cigarette.
* MusicalTrigger: The song "Relax" causes Derek's brainwashing to kick in, [[ManchurianAgent transforming him into a mindless assassin]]. This is due to the fact that BigBad Mugatu was ThePeteBest of Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Matilda has one when she realizes that she was partially responsible for driving Derek into retirement.
* MyHovercraftIsFullOfEels: Derek's grasp of Malay leaves much to be desired.
** Given that he's "dumb as a stump," the fact that he [[GeniusDitz speaks Malay at all]] is pretty impressive.
* NiceGuy: Derek, in a subversion of the typical bitchy-superstar stereotype, is actually sweet-natured and generous.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Played straight with Derek, who's name is an amalgam of Calvin Klein models Mark Vanderloo and the Johnny Zander. Averted with all of the celebrity cameos, who play themselves.
* NotSoAboveItAll:
** Matilda is the OnlySaneMan in the main cast, until [[spoiler: she participates in an orgy.]] Even more so when she goes on a long description of her clothing while holding Katinka at gunpoint in retaliation for her insulting her fashion sense earlier.
** Hell, even Mugatu, the only person who recognizes that Derick has exactly one look, follows up MotiveRant by screaming about his piano key necktie as if it's some kind of grand accomplishment.
* OhCrap:
** Derek has a moment of horror when he realizes that his friends are about to get killed at the gas station.
** The Malaysian Prime Minister reacts in shock when Derek is going to kill him.
* TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness: The round table [[ManBehindTheMan running the fashion industry]].
* TheOneThingIDontHateAboutYou: ''"It's that damned Hansel! He's so hot right now!"''
* OnlySaneMan: Part of Mugatu's MotiveRant, a rare case of this applying to the ''villain.''
--> "Blue Steel? Ferrari? Le Tigre? They're the ''same face''! Doesn't anyone notice this!? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"
** Matilda also plays this role for the protagonists.
* OverlyLongGag: The participants during the orgy scene.
** In a deleted scene, Derek enters the club where Hansel is having an afterparty, passing something like six or seven groups of people just to throw a lame one-liner back at Hansel for an earlier insult. (Part of this scene ends up in the ImagineSpot when the hand model discusses why male models make the perfect assassins.)
* OutdatedOutfit: Mugatu's "Little Cletus" disguise is of what a child in the early 1900s would probably wear. Ironic, considering Mugatu should be keeping up with the latest fashions. Then again, he does seem to be the world's premiere fashion designer. If he can sell trash as fashion then he can get away with Little Cletus.
%%* APartyAlsoKnownAsAnOrgy
* PerfectlyCromulentWord: Derek is not an ambiturner. He can't turn left.
* ThePeteBest: Mugatu is this in-universe for Music/FrankieGoesToHollywood.
* PhraseCatcher: Hansel. "He's so hot right now." In particular from Mugatu.
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: When introducing Derek as a nominee for Model of the Year, the announcer guy enunciates each syllable separately (see page quote). Each syllable also comes from a different speaker. Derek silently counts along to make sure that his name is indeed five syllables.
* RealityEnsues: When Derek's model friends spray gasoline at the gas station and Brint lights up a cigarette, the station explodes and everyone is killed, except for Derek.
* RefugeInAudacity: Mugatu's new line that does a high fashion spin on what homeless people wear. Amusingly, it has been done for real by John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood, but the style was intended to be shocking.
* RightHandCat: Mugatu's right-hand poodle, which looks almost as ridiculous as he does.
* RunningGag: Every time someone mentions Hansel, Mugatu immediately adds some variation of "He's so hot right now."
* SayMyName:
** Derek yells "Brint!" when he lights up his cigarette and causes the gas station to explode.
** Hansel shouts Derek's name when [[spoiler:he pulls his BigDamnHeroes moment to stop Mugatu's plan]].
* ScaleModelDestruction: Mugatu shows off a model of a school he's planning to build in Derek Zoolander's honor. Derek gets ticked and destroys it, because he doesn't understand the concept of a model.
-->'''Derek Zoolander:''' What is this, a center for ''ants''? How can the children learn anything if they can't fit in the building?!.
* SeriousBusiness: The fashion industry, to the point of involving an {{Illuminati}}-esque international conspiracy and political assassination.
* ShaggyDogStory:
-->'''Hansel:''' So I'm rappelling down Mount Vesuvius when suddenly I slip, and I start to fall. I mean, I'm about to ''die.'' Just falling, "Ahhh! Ahhh!" I'll never forget the terror. When suddenly I remember, "Holy shit, Hansel, haven't you been smoking Peyote for six straight days, and couldn't some of this maybe be in your mind?"
-->'''Derek:''' ...and?
-->'''Hansel:''' ...it was. I was totally fine. I've never even ''been'' to Mount Vesuvius.
* SheCleansUpNicely: Matilda, again.
* ShoutOut:
** [[Music/MichaelJackson "Beat It"]] plays over the walk-off between Derek and Hansel
** Derek's brainwashing sequence channels ''Film/AClockworkOrange''
** Derek and Hansel imitate the "Dawn of Man" sequence in ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'', complete with the soundtrack playing ''Music/AlsoSprachZarathustra''
** The confrontation between Derek and his manager before he walks for Mugatu refers to ''Film/TheGodfather Part II''.
** Jon Voight seems to have based his performance as Derek's father on Creator/ChristopherWalken.
** "I hate Hansel! [[Series/TheBradyBunch Everywhere I look, Hansel! Hansel! Hansel!]]"
* SmartBall: Derek is smart enough to realize that fire and gasoline are a dangerous combination.
* SoundtrackDissonance: A minor case when Derek and his roommates try to forget their troubles, as "Wake Me up before You Go-Go" plays (it contains a reference to a yo-yo, which is rival Hansel's thing).
** However, it plays again as a TriumphantReprise in [[EarnYourHappyEnding the ending]] with Derek having a family with Matilda, a friend in Hansel, and are all running "The Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too", complete with a memorial dedicated to his roommates.
* SpitTake: Hilariously overdone by Mugatu.
--> "Todd! Were you not aware that I get farty and bloated with a foamy latte?!"
* ThisIsWhatTheBuildingWillLookLike: Even if they can't fit inside the building.
* ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman: Only a male model has the skills to make a perfect assassin, and only Derek's "Magnum" look (or is it "Blue Steel"?) can stop them!
* TooDumbToLive: Derek's model friends who at a gas station start spraying gasoline at each other and then, Brint lights up a cigarette. Even [[EveryoneHasStandards Derek recognizes this as a very stupid decision]] and tries to stop them but is too late.
* TooKinkyToTorture: Katinka only looks excited when pistol-whipped by Matilda.
* TrainingMontage: Derek's training to be an assassin.
* VillainousBreakdown: Mugatu gets a pretty spectacular one at the end, during which he ends up [[LampshadeHanging pointing out that]] [[OnlySaneMan contrary to what everyone thinks, Derek's repertoire is somewhat limited]]:
-->"Who cares about Derek Zoolander anyway? The man has only one look for Christ's sake! Blue Steel? Ferrari? Le Tigre? They're the ''same face!'' Doesn't anyone notice this?! ''[[OnlySaneMan I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!]]'' I invented the ''piano key necktie!'' I invented it! What have you done, Derek?! Nothing! ''You've got '''nothing! NOTHING!'''''"
* WeaksauceWeakness: Derek can't turn left (until the climax).
* WellDoneSonGuy: Derek temporarily retires from modeling and tries to join his dad and brother in the mining field. It doesn't go over well.
** When Zoolander reveals Magnum, however (Derek's father is watching the fashion show at bar), his dad is genuinely amazed and announces to the whole bar 'That's my son!'
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: What happened to the shadowy evil council who have been killing world leaders for decades? All that's shown is Mugatu, so the fate of the others is unclear.
** We Never get to see what J.P. Prewett's fate was, either (in a deleted scene he became a teacher at Derick's school).
%%* WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway? "Magnum."
* WhoShotJFK: According to the hand model, it's two male models on the grassy knoll.
* WholePlotReference: The movie is largely inspired by ''Literature/TheManchurianCandidate.''
* WorldOfHam: The world of male modelling is not for the subtle.