WE have all heard about the alleged bitchiness of the catwalks where models and supermodels claw their way for publicity in the world's fashion pages.
But what happens when it's the male model fraternity?
Granted, it's not something I'd given much thought to, but American comedian Ben Stiller certainly has.
He created a character called Derek Zoolander for the MTV Awards. The camp figure was a big hit and this 90-minute film develops the theme and squeezes every possible spoof sketch out of the flimsy plot focusing on moronic male models and freak fashion shows.
Like Stiller's previous films There's Something About Mary and Meet The Parents there are genuinely funny one-liners and set-pieces, but where the previous two comedies had definite structure, Zoolander tries far too hard to cram in parodies of so many film genres. From buddy war movies to sentimental love stories.
We meet Derek Zoolander as he is being interviewed by an American magazine reporter who becomes his love interest and if you believe that... well, don't even bother.
Zoolander has his own 'look' called Blue Steel and reveals he's working on a new photo image called Magnum which looks remarkably like all his other bland expressions.
The word pretentious comes to mind but then so, too, does 'dumb' and 'even dumber' and that's where you realise the territory you're entering. Stiller, as co-writer, director and producer, pushes the tasteless barriers even further.
The story is not hard to grasp. One dimensional dim Zoolander is heading for Model of the Year for the fourth time until a new pretender arrives called Hansel.
He takes away the fickle fashion crown and this leaves DZ to ponder what to do next in life.
He returns to his bleak mining village where dad, played by a straight-faced Jon Voight, disowns him. Surprisingly the father-son interchange makes for some poignant exchanges amid the hysteria.
Seeing Zoolander down the pits with his designer working gear is a classic scene.
Shunned he returns to front one final show.
But unbeknown to him the fashion world is actually run by sinister gangsters who are responsible for many of the world's political assassinations allowing them to capitalise on slave labour and sweat shops.
Because of his low IQ, Zoolander is chosen to be brain-washed into killing the Prime Minister of Malaysia who is attempting to do away with slave labour.
Yes, it gets that silly.
Along the way there's the compulsory gratuitous rude scenes. One occasion features a massage parlour. There's also a bizarre catwalk competition with a guest appearance from David Bowie and a highly-animated fight scene involving spy characters who are too outrageous even for a James Bond villain audition.
There's some other pointless guest cameos from Posh Spice, Donald Trump and Larry Sanders (Gary Shandling).
Best surprise is an uncredited X-Files star David Duchovny in heavy disguise as a gravedigger with a conspiracy theory.
The truth is out there... but what truth?
If you like the in-your-face crude brashness of American comedies, then this is for you.
Ignore the industry in-jokes and let Stiller and the male model menagerie run riot through a world as plastic as some of the personalities who dominate it.
There's a happy ending, too. It's not exactly feel good factor time more an implausible 'I can't believe it' scenario but, then again, having sat through the film by that stage you will laugh at absolutely anything.