The first Zoolander film came out all the way back in 2001 and has subsequently become a cult comedy hit, highlighting the careers of its stars. Now, fifteen years later, a sequel comes to theatres. Does Zoolander 2 recapture the comedy glory of the first film, or has it been too long for the really, really, ridiculously, good-looking male model?
Zoolander 2 stars Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Penelope Cruz and is directed by Ben Stiller. The film follows male model Derek Zoolander (Stiller) who comes out of retirement to find his long-lost son Derek Jr. and stop a evil fashion-based cabal from killing him.
I remember hearing that Zoolander was getting a sequel and since I’m an optimist when it comes to films, I was hopeful that we would get another instantly quotable and often funny film. Sadly, I was disappointed, as it seems that in those subsequent fifteen years, no new jokes have arisen.
The majority of the jokes seem to be call-backs to the previous film, such as Will Ferrell’s Mugatu asking for his latte, or a sequence near the end where Zoolander must perfect “Blue Steel” again, this time to stop a bomb instead of a throwing star. There are a handful of jokes that are new, but most of them are hit and miss. A lot of the new material could be considered offensive or just plain unfunny, such as an extended joke by Zoolander and Hansel about how fat people are gross and untrustworthy, or another moment where the duo debate androgynous model All’s (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) gender, asking whether All has a “hot dog” or a “bun”. I wouldn’t even class it as a joke, I can’t see a punch-line anywhere in the scene.
The first film had a couple of cameo appearance by celebrities, such as Paris Hilton and a spectacular couple of minutes by David Bowie, but in Zoolander 2, the film is packed with famous people, some without any connection with the fashion industry. While Zoolander 2 has fashion creators such as Tommy Hilfiger, Anna Wintour and Alexander Wang, others are ridiculous. Susan Boyle, Kiefer Sutherland (who does a really out of place joke about miscarriages), Ariana Grande, even Neil DeGrasse Tyson pops up at one bit to say a string a swear words while describing the universe. The film even tries to redo the David Bowie scene but with Sting instead, which pales in comparison to first film. It just screams a certain type of pandering, where the actors just asked their famous friends if they wanted to do a two-second wave to the camera for a few dollars.
The first film was an over-the-top story about male model being brainwashed to be highly-trained killers. It was a story that was silly but knew it was silly, so it made the film funnier. The story in Zoolander 2 stars out pretty simple, but over the run time, more plot points and characters get piled on top of each other until it’s a mess of a story. The last ten minutes are mangled, as the film tries to ret-con the entirety of the plot up until that point, before spinning around again and saying “Oh no, we were right the first time.” Unfortunately, I was already bored by the lack of engagement on-screen, that I didn’t even care about the double twist.
I will admit though, it was nice to see the characters that we all loved back in 2001 back in Zoolander 2. Just Zoolander and Hansel standing next to each other was enough to elicit a smile from me. But the rest of the characters aren’t really that charming or entertaining. Kristen Wiig, who plays Alexanya Atoz, the head of fashion a label, is putting on a really thick accent, which makes her dialogue really hard to understand. It almost sounds like the reversed dialogue from Twin Peaks. Will Ferrell does nothing as Mugatu, just screaming and shouting instead of anything more varied. It’s all just wasted talent.
In the end I say, who asked for this film? I didn’t think there would be millions of people craving another Zoolander film and unfortunately, it’s really quite terrible. If you’re wanting a comedy to see in the cinema, just go watch Deadpool.
Score: 5/10 Just stick to the first one.