Zoolander 2, 2016.
Directed by Ben Stiller.
Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig, Penelope Cruz, Will Ferrell, Cara Delevingne, Olivia Munn, Milla Jovovich, Fred Armisen and Justin Bieber.
Derek and Hansel are modelling again when an opposing company attempts to take them out from the business.
Despite the iconography of Zoolander still prevalent in today’s society, the new film seems to be trying all-too-hard to remind us of its notoriety. It has, after all, remained a comedy favourite ever since its inception in 2001. However, the new sequel calls on the same jokes, introduces very few memorable new characters (bar Kristen Wiig, who has just the right amount of screen-time to remain funny), and seems lazily directed by star/co-writer, Ben Stiller.
The film’s best assets lie in the many celebrity cameos on show. These small, yet hilarious, moments glue the film together. Although, if you are managing to hold a film together on the basis of a handful of celeb spots, you don’t have a great movie.
The assassination plot of the first one has seeped back into the sequel, too, and tediously plays on the same style of the first. Of course, fans want to see more of what they love, but as we’ve learnt with Anchorman 2, you can’t bottle lightning twice. The crime element works only to reintroduce Mugatu (who, much like Wigg, gives Ferrell just the right amount of screen-time). Had Zoolander 2 gone down a different route, and pastiched the reality side of entertainment – especially given the rife material available for parody such as the Kardashians – there might have been a bit more originality.
Developments are made more so with Derek and Hansel’s relationships. Derek has lost his wife, and had his son taken by child services. Hansel lives in the desert with 12 “orgy” lovers. Jokes and plot are extracted from these lifestyles better than any other characters’ traits. Hansel’s, in particular, has some of the best gags, underplayed against Derek’s constant buffoonery. If anyone comes out better than the rest, it’s Owen Wilson…and Kristen Wiig. Derek’s son, revealed about 30 minutes into the film, gives the film some humanity, somewhat ruined by fat jokes that seem slightly too over-emphasised to be taken lightly. It also enables the film to tie itself together at the end, but the irreverence and oddness of the first is what we should have maybe gotten, not a standard defeat-the-evil-bad-guy narrative.
Aside from plot, comedy is what is truly under scrutiny here. And yes, it can be funny. Those cameos mentioned are hilarious and well orchestrated (although this is called Zoolander 2, not Cameo Comedy film). Comic timing is mired by shoddy editing and Stiller’s oddly distant direction. Sex, violence and language are often expressed so boldly, it throws you; there’s no tact to it all. You’ll chuckle a few times, but there will be no lasting impression made on Derek and Hansel’s second outing.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Piers McCarthy – Follow me on Twitter.