BIG ON CELEBRITY CAMEOS, BUT SHORT ON LAUGHS!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: D+ (2 stars)
Ben Stiller brings Blue Steel back in Zoolander 2
JUSTIN BIEBER DIES IN THE MOVIE…AWESOME!
Okay I got that out, anyway, Ben Stiller (Madagascar trilogy, Night at the Museum trilogy, Tropic Thunder) returns as the dim-witted model and master of Blue Steel, Derek Zoolander in the sequel to the 2001 comedy hit, Zoolander. The first Zoolander was a comedy I enjoyed a lot when I was younger, I don’t consider it a comedic great but with its goofy charm, silly humor, and clever satire of the fashion industry, it was my favorite Ben Stiller comedy at the time, until Tropic Thunder came along, but I still like it.
Zoolander was a comedy that felt very self-aware of just how silly its premise is, a hot male model whose career goes downhill when a rival model steps in, and then he gets the aid of an evil fashion mogul to get his career back on track, but then the mogul brainwashes him into assassinating the Prime Minister. I watched the first movie the night before seeing this one, and I haven’t seen the first movie in a while and I came out and said “This is one of the silliest movie ideas ever!” Not really a shock I know.
It’s no comedic masterpiece, but it’s a very entertaining movie that offers plenty of belly laughs and everything felt right with the world. Then comes the sequel, Zoolander 2, released over ten years since the first movie.
Talk about being late in the game to do a sequel to Zoolander, usually comedy sequels are made only to capitalize on the success of the first movie. Especially if they’re being made several years after the first movie, think about it, Dumb and Dumber To, Blues Brothers 2000, and need I mention Son of the Mask?
However sometimes if the studio is really lucky, a comedy sequel to a movie released several years after the first film can be as good and possibly better like 2013’s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, for a movie that should have been dead on arrival, it still had plenty of goofy humor and new elements thrown in to separate itself from the first movie, not to mention the same cast of characters, it’s a good movie and an example of how to do a comedy sequel properly.
Zoolander 2 however relies more on cramming in as many celebrity cameos as possible rather then developing jokes, granted some of the cameos get a laugh but others feel like they were just thrown in because they’re popular as a half-ass attempt to market to the hip new generation. And an obvious flaw of almost every unnecessary comedy sequel, constantly rehashing the first movie.
After the events of the first Zoolander, we find former male supermodel, Derek Zoolander (Stiller) trying to get over the loss of his girlfriend, Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor-The Brady Bunch Movie, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Tropic Thunder) after the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good collapsed literally two days after its Grand Opening, killing her and apparently deforming his former rival turned partner, Hansel (Owen Wilson-Starsky & Hutch, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Midnight in Paris) and resulting in his son, Derek Jr. being put into an orphanage. Until he is called in by sexy Fashion Interpol officer, Melanie Valentina (Penélope Cruz-Volver, Vicky Christina Barcelona, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) and recruited with Hansel to track down a group of assassins that have been murdering the world’s most beautiful people.
Derek, Hansel, and Melanie infiltrate a new world of fashion and the evolution of fashion to put a stop to the assassins. The new fashion world leads our “Really Ridiculously Good Looking” heroes to Derek’s old arch nemesis, Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell-Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory) who escaped from prison and is out for revenge on Derek.
Overall, there’s really no point in Zoolander 2 existing, the first film felt very self contained and probably should have stayed that way. To call it one of the worst comedies ever made would be incorrect, it’s not even close to being considered the worst comedies of the new era, especially after all the Happy Madison and Wayans Brothers productions that keep coming out.
To the film’s credit, it has its comedic moments, the few celebrity cameos that are funny and not overstuffed with other celebrities, the absurd and exaggerated humor that the first film had, the traditional Ben Stiller facial expressions, and some new takes on old clichés, not to mention seeing Stiller, Wilson, and Ferrell reprise their iconic characters is undeniably charming, this could have been the Anchorman 2 of Zoolander movies. Unfortunately, the script has several plot holes, most of the jokes and gags are stale, the constant rehashing and references to the first movie, and if you’ve seen the first movie you already know exactly how they stop Mugatu here.
If you’re a fan of Zoolander and just want to see how the story continues, maybe you’ll see something in Zoolander 2 that I didn’t and possibly have a fun time, but if you want a really clever, really funny, and really engaging movie, I’m sure Deadpool or Hail, Caesar! Are playing next door.