Posted Feb 11 2016

Zoolander 2 - This Belated Sequel Movie Struts, Pouts, Sort Of Almost Rocks

Dir: Ben Stiller

Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Will Ferrell, Kristin Wiig, Justin Bieber, Sherlock Bandicoot, Olivia Munn

It worth remembering two things about the original Zoolander. Firstly, it was something of a flop the first time round, largely because it was the first comedy released after 9/11, and, frankly no one was in the mood to laugh.

Secondly, irrespective of that, it was a fairly uneven movie, full of some very fine, very silly moments, some good fun performances (and Will Ferrell), still enjoyable, but a touch uneven over all, as all of Stiller’s directing work tends to be.

So what to make of the smell of their number two? Pretty much more of the same. But nearly 15 year’s lay-off hasn’t taught them any new tricks. If anything, it’s encouraged some lazy habits.

Sadly, Derek’s school, The Derek Zoolander School for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Want to Do Other Stuff Good Too – one of the best gags then, one of the best still – collapsed and killed his wife, alienating him from his son Derek Junior and forcing him to become a “hermit-crab” in the deepest wilds of snow bound New Jersey. Wilson’s Hansel meanwhile lives in a perpetual multi species orgy (including Kiefer Sutherland) somewhere in the dunes of a Saharan-like Malibu North. They both get dragged back into the contemporary fashion scene after the death of Justin Bieber, Madonna, Springsteen and others, all of whom went Blue Steel (or did they?) shortly before their assassinations. Beyond that…well it’s just silly, and you don’t really need to know.

And that’s where the film is at its best – when it’s unrepentantly silly. The plot is daft, the revelations it reveals, dafter still. Much of it brings a distinct smile to the face, little of it will make you laugh out loud. But it’s pleasant until it starts to run out of steam. So, Derek’s constant inability to say the right phrase is funny. But it peters out after a while. And we are left with a series of running gags that simply should be better edited – with Hansel, it’s his sex drive, with newcomer Cruz, it’s her boobs (her and Hansel should have worked that one out), with Ferrell’s Mugato it’s a protracted riff on never speaking, just sort of grunting, with Wiig it's her ridiculous mispronounciation of...everything. With an unexpected (and quite a good) Sting it’s Police song titles (actually that one works right up to the end.)

But there’s too much repetition here – both of old gags, and the new ones. Plus, the endless parade of celebrity cameos. It works initially. It works for the occasional later one. But when the climax of your film is based around the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Anna Wintour, Vera Wang, Valentino and more – and you have to stop the action to explain who they are – and then you do that about a dozen times!!! – you kind of lose the plot. Literally. (Not to mention all the good will your audience have given you.)

Zoolander 2 knows how to make you smile. Which is a good thing. It’s very silly. Also a good thing. Won’t make you laugh that much. Not a good thing.


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