4 items from 2016
Ben Stiller's professional onscreen career is officially turning 30 this year — that's roughly 412 in comedian years. In a business where funny people tend to quickly exhaust their limited charm and sink from telling jokes to becoming a punchline, the restless and versatile Stiller has managed to sustain one of the most consistent comic careers this side of Bob Hope. From his days as a bit player to his later emergence as a force of nature in front of the camera and behind the scenes (you have his production company Red »
Ben Stiller‘s sequel to his own 2001 cult hit, Zoolander, opens this Friday, and it is not good. There are a few humorous beats — and an inexplicable Mvp in Kiefer Sutherland — but the jokes and gags are a mix of the recycled and the unfunny. Skipping it in theaters and staying home to re-watch The Cable Guy is my advice to those of you considering seeing it. His last great comedy as director was 2008’s Tropic Thunder, and I was happy to realize that the director’s cut DVD features two commentaries. Both feature Stiller, but only one also includes Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. with the latter staying in character through the majority of the commentary track. Keep reading to see what I heard on the Tropic Thunder cast commentary. Tropic Thunder (2008) Commentator: Ben Stiller (director/co-writer/actor), Jack Black (actor), Robert Downey Jr. (actor) 1. Black arrived forty-five minutes late for the commentary recording, but »
- Rob Hunter
It may have been a really, really ridiculously good-looking idea on paper, but Ben Stiller’s attempt to bring back one of his more beloved creations feels like a cheap designer knockoff in “Zoolander 2.” Falling well below the standards of “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” (2014) in the long-delayed-sequel sweepstakes, this flailing follow-up drags the endearingly dim-witted Derek Zoolander out of retirement for an extended Roman holiday, backed by a parade of real-life celebrities and fashion-world denizens who are now very much in on the joke. If only that joke weren’t so far past its sell-by date: The results may delight those who believe recycled gags and endless cameos to be the very essence of great screen comedy, but everyone else will likely recognize Stiller’s wannabe Magnum opus as a disappointment-slash-misfire, the orange mocha crappuccino of movie sequels.
Just as “Anchorman 2” nearly doubled the worldwide gross of its 2004 predecessor, »
- Justin Chang
Nearly one year after Ben Stiller began developing the 2010 novel “Super Sad True Love Story” for a television series with writer Karl Gajdusek, Showtime has nabbed the project with Stiller attached to exec produce and direct, Variety has learned.
Currently in development at the premium cabler, the book’s author Gary Shteyngart will serve as an exec producer with Stiller and Gajdusek, who is penning the television adaptation. Media Rights Capital is producing.
“Super Sad True Love Story” is a satire of contemporary American values and trends, including the erosion of American political values, the obsession with youth, and the urge to publish personal information through social networking. A unique blend of comedy, tragedy, absurdity and neurosis, the epistolary novel is built around the diaries of protagonist Lenny Abramov and the online posts of Eunice, telling their love story against the backdrop of an American dystopia.
For Stiller, the dramedy »
- Elizabeth Wagmeister
4 items from 2016
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