Review: Zoolander 2
March 2, 2016
It’s hard to believe it’s been fifteen years since Ben Stiller unleashed his iconic idiot Derek Zoolander on the world. The 2001 film Zoolander was a commercial failure but became a cult hit, its quotability, silliness and outlandish sense of fun leading many fans to perfect their ‘Blue Steel’. After the critical failure of last year’s similarly silly sequel Anchorman 2, the question is whether Zoolander and pals still have the same daft appeal more than a decade later.
The answer, sadly, is no. It’s not to say that Zoolander 2 isn’t fun, but the film is messier and relies too heavily on hark backs to the comedic punches of the original film. The plot this time around sees Derek and Owen Wilson’s Hansel each in their own separate exile, brought back into the fashion world to uncover a conspiracy involving the assassination of all the world’s pop stars. They team up with Interpol agent Valentina Valencia (Penelope Cruz) on a mission that involves Derek’s long-lost son, Derek Jr.
In a nice touch; Hansel has started a family with a troupe called ‘The Orgy’, which includes an elf, a goat and Kiefer Sutherland. While it’s a great joke, the inclusion of the 24 star highlights one of the key issues of the film: a celebrity cameo doesn’t make a joke funny. And, boy, this film is chock-a-block with cameos. While some work, such as a great appearance by MC Hammer, most feel like a flick through Ben Stiller’s phone book. After all, an appearance by Susan Sarandon is only funny because you think “That’s Susan Sarandon…”.
The new characters are equally disappointing. Kristen Wiig’s heavily-botoxed Alexanya Atoz and Benedict Cumberbatch’s transgender model ‘All’ are fleeting, one-joke side characters and a shrill performance from Cyrus Arnold as Derek’s son ruins most scenes he appears in. The saving grace is Kyle Mooney whose hipster fashion designer Don Atari is perfectly pitched and often hilarious.
However, there is still enjoyment to be had from Zoolander 2, offered for the most part from Ben Stiller. His preening, idiotic male model is still endlessly endearing, but it’s saying something that there are no memorable quotes in this misfire of a sequel. After all, the original film gave us “What is this – a centre for ants?” and “Bulimic? You can read minds?”. This film gives us Kiefer Sutherland suffering a miscarriage. It’s not really the same, is it?
You can catch Zoolander 2 in cinemas now.