Movie Review: ‘Zoolander 2’
Director: Ben Stiller
Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig
Plot: Washed up fashion models Derek Zoolander and Hansel step back onto the catwalk and became embroiled in a conspiracy dating back to the Garden of Eden and the Fountain of Youth while trying to find Zoolander’s lost son.
Review: I wasn’t expecting much from a Zoolander sequel. It’s been a long time and Stiller has not been at the top of his game for almost a decade. It’s hard to imagine that this return to the character is born less out of a lighting strike of inspiration and a need to appeal to audiences. And while a Zoolander sequel isn’t unwelcome, nobody was clamouring for it to happen.
So I wasn’t expecting much, but Jesus Christ how is it this bad?
Things get off to a rocky start when the movie starts with a celebrity cameo (albeit Justin Bieber being murdered) followed by a rather long montage of fake news stories explaining what Derek Zoolander has been up to for 15 years. The speed at which they rush through his reading centre collapsing, his wife dying, his best friend being disfigured, his son being taken away by child protective services and him going to be a hermit makes it seem like none of it matters. It certainly doesn’t matter enough to incorporate it into the script beyond a montage. We then get Zoolander and Hansel in separate seclusions and being visited by a Netflix product placement delivered by another celebrity cameo. Not that the target audience is going to know who Billy Zane is. In the original film he was ‘that other guy from Titanic‘ and he’s been in fuck all since. But he’s here. Why? Because he was in the first one.
Here begins the most frequent and desperate attempt to raise a chuckle from the audience – mentioning the jokes from the original film. Not even building on them or extending them – just mentioning them or, at best, repeating them verbatim. We bounce back between rehashed jokes from the first one and cameos from famous people who then have their names said aloud. While Zoolander is redoing the bit where he shouts “who am I?” (remember that classic line?) Katy Perry then does the same thing. Derek then says “Yes Katy Perry, it’s like when will we find out who we are?” Then Neil deGrasse Tyson appears and Derek says “Neil deGrasse Tyson? You don’t know who you are?” The ‘joke’ doesn’t go beyond this. None of them do.
Then we come to the story. Eventually, after more than half an hour of establishing that Zoolander and Hansel are out of touch. The original film, whilst hardly an Oscar contender, had an amusing and satirical premise. The leaders of the fashion world used models as patsies in a conspiracy to maintain lax sweatshop laws through assassination. This time around the premise is that the first model lived in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, and all models are descendents from him. Eating the heart of a model will grant you eternal youth, and for this reason Mugatu (yes, they reused the same villain) has kidnapped his son.
This plot is complete garbage. When it’s revealed at the end during a horribly edited sequence that this was a lie concocted as an excuse to get revenge of Zoolander it comes as a relief. Did Ben Stiller really expect us to go alone with something so completely fucking moronic?
Perhaps he did, as this movie proves that Stiller himself is more out of touch than his famously dimwitted character. Not only was he under the impression that the world was holding it’s breath for a new Zoolander film but he’s completely oblivious to what people find funny in the modern world. One of the few new characters exists only to make fun of hipsters, a concept done so many times in past years it’s about retro enough for hipsters to do it themselves. Then there’s the obligatory Benedict Cumberbatch role, now required in all franchises by law, which makes jokes about transgendered people. It’s hard to tell if he’s playing a man or a woman! LOL! It’s possible that they were trying to make fun of Zoolander’s awkward attitude to this character but if that’s the case they amazingly failed.
If you’re feeling a twinge of nostalgia for Zoolander, then hop onto Netflix and watch Zoolander. This sequel is 90% celebrity cameos, 9% rehashed jokes and 1% story. Skip it.
Rating: TWO out of TEN