Zoolander

Movie review by
Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media
Zoolander Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Surprisingly entertaining modeling spoof has sex, swearing.
  • PG-13
  • 2001
  • 89 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 47 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Ultimately it's better to work together than focus on rivalry and competition. There's more to life than parties and looking good. Also a lot of shallow behavior on display, though.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main characters are shallow and competitive for much of the movie, but they also learn to work together to stop a dangerous plot. And Derek means well in most cases.

Violence

Characters are killed in an abrupt but comic manner (fire at a gas station), and the plot involves a political assassination.

Sex

The audience sees glimpses of and hears discussion about an orgy (nothing explicit shown). Flirting, etc.

Language

Language includes "s--t," "d--k," and one "f--k."

Consumerism

Many products are visible throughout the film.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters talk about doing illicit drugs, and an orgy is preceded by heavy drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Zoolander is a broad, spoofy comedy with plenty of mature content. There's an orgy between the three main characters (played by Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Christine Taylor) and a few other folks that includes brief glimpses of skin, though nothing explicit. One main character talks about having an eating disorder, and others respond as if that's a good thing. There's talk of drug use, and characters get really drunk before the orgy scene. Though it's played for laughs, the main characters are threatened with death several times -- and in an early scene, a few supporting characters are killed abruptly. Language includes "s--t," "d--k," and one "f--k."

Wondering if Zoolander is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMatt B. February 21, 2019

I'm surprised that you rated this for 14+

This should be rated R. It has sex scenes and has language such as the F word.
Parent Written byshellic February 19, 2015

Not for kids!

There is a lot of inappropriate language and references to drugs. There is a part where an eating disorder is discussed and laughed about as though it is a good... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byChezchadbread February 22, 2016

"That Hansel's so hot right now!"

This cult classic is HILARIOUS! You will be rolling in the aisles. One of the most quotable movies of the 21st century, Zoolander went from being a small comedy... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bySpiderman1204 August 21, 2015

Amazing Ben stiller humour

Ben stiller is at his best in this movie. It is not bad at all. I think I counted 2 swear words. The only iffy scene is the sex scene where u see nothing bad.... Continue reading

What's the story?

When the new Malaysian prime minister promises to raise the minimum wage for his country's workers, cabals of fashion industry insiders know there's only one choice: Kill the prime minister -- and use a male model to do it. "We need a beautiful, self-absorbed simpleton who can be manipulated and molded, like Jell-o," intones a woman veiled by shadow. Enter Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller), a veteran male model who names his looks (Blue Steel, Le Tigre, etc.) but manages to look the same doing all of them, and who always wanted to make a living "being really, really, really, ridiculously good-looking." When he loses a prestigious fashion award to up-and-comer Hansel (Owen Wilson) and his three best model friends die after having a gasoline fight (don't ask), Derek quits modeling, only to come back to international espionage, an orgy, and a date with destiny.

Is it any good?

ZOOLANDER delights with silly jokes that you can't help but giggle at, and teens will finds lots to enjoy. If you think it sounds dumb, it is. But it's a good dumb, like Austin Powers: Man of Mystery or Dodgeball. Watch it for the scene where Derek and Hansel do street battle, male model-style, with a runway.

There's also some inspired casting: David Duchovny as a conspiracy-theory devotee and long-time hand model, and Will Ferrell as the ridiculous villain Mugatu, the designer of the Derelicte look. There are pop cultural references galore and cameos by everyone from Paris Hilton to Donatella Versace to David Bowie. Many of the references are to '80s pop culture and may fly over the head of teens. There are also lots of product placements. But in the end, just sit back and watch the pretty people act stupid, and you'll have a great time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of Zoolander's more serious themes, like bulimia, literacy, and sweatshop labor. Do you like seeing serious subjects brought up in silly movies? How does that affect their impact?

  • What do you think the movie is saying about models and how our culture treats them? Are any of the characters intended to be role models?

  • Who's the intended audience of this movie? Why do so many people love silly comedies? Why do different types of humor appeal to different people?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedies

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate