ZOOLANDER 2 (USA/12A/102mins)
Directed by Ben Stiller. Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Justin Theroux, Benedict Cumberbatch.
THE PLOT: After the collapse of his poorly-constructed Institute For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too – killing his wife and landing on the face of his fellow model superstar, Hansel (Wilson), Derek Zoolander (Stiller) soon loses custody of his son too, and so heads off to live like ‘a hermit crab’ in the wilderness. The mysterious gunning down of five major pop stars (we delightfully get to see Bieber once again bite the bullet in the opening scene) leads interpol agent Valentina to believe Zoolander holds the key to unravelling their dying social media poses. Hansel too is being drawn out of retirement, happy to escape back into the real world when his beloved orgy gang – including men, women and goats of all shapes and sizes, including Kiefer Sutherland – are all simultaneously pregnant.
It soon becomes apparent that Derek’s orphaned son is the key to it all, which turns into a race against time when the evil Mugatu (Ferrell) makes his escape from prison.
THE VERDICT: Right down with ‘Dumb & Dumber To’ and ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’, ‘Zoolander 2’ is one hot mess.
Which is both disappointing and surprising, given that Stiller knows funny, and this was his golden ticket out a major box-office slump. ‘Zoolander 2’ will open strong, but weak word of mouth means that this lame sequel will be so last season.
There’s about five-minutes’ worth of good gags to be saved from the fire here, most of them in the momentarily funny ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ closing battle. For the other 137mins though, you may find it a struggle to keep your eyes even half open.
A has-been playing a has-been worked wonders for Mickey Rourke in ‘The Wrestler’, but Stiller is on the ropes here, with pop culture gags that would make even a Wayans wince. Is mentioning Netflix and Uber really all that funny? Or, eh, hip? Riddled with lame gags, crap CGI (Fred Armisen as an 11-year-old boy – why?), irritating supporting oddballs that are far more Jar Jar than haha, and the new Pauly Shore to boot, ‘Zoolander 2’ plays like a rushed SNL sketch that simply won’t stop.
The first ‘Zoolander’ had Bowie. This one has Sting. A lot. Enough said.
Review by Paul Byrne

Zoolander 2
Review by Paul Byrne
2.0A Hot Mess
  • filmbuff2011

    Ben Stiller’s 2001 film Zoolander was a lot of fun and even courted controversy in Malaysia. Its zany brand of distinctive humour resulted in it not being a box office hit. But an afterlife on DVD gave it a new-found audience. Rumours of a sequel spread until finally Stiller and co-star Luke Wilson walked down a runway in character to announce it. Was Zoolander 2 worth the wait?

    15 years after a tragedy at the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too (!) which killed his wife and drove a wedge between him and his son, former male model Derek Zoolander is living the quiet life of a hermit crab. That is, until Billy Zane appears on his doorstop and coaxes him out of retirement. Fashion maven Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig) wants him for her new show. Also along is Derek’s former BFF Hansel (Wilson), who now lives in a hippy commune that he calls ‘orgy’. At the same time, Interpol Agent Valentina (Penelope Cruz) is investigating the murder of several popstars like Justin Bieber which may be connected to Atoz and her sinister fashion empire. Could Derek’s arch nemesis Mugatu (Will Ferrell), now in prison, also be involved? And more importantly, why did God create ugly people?

    Zoolander 2, or Zoolander No. 2 (ha-ha) as the poster proclaims it, is just what you’d expect from a Zoolander film – and more. It’s outrageously funny and gets away with a lot of nudge-nudge, wink-wink humour. Part of that is down to the spot-on script by Stiller, Justin Theroux, Nicholas Stoller and John Hamburg. There’s a feeling of time passing but the characters not changing all that much. Derek can still manage to pull a Magnum or Blue Steel – with a little effort. He’s also still as clueless as ever, along with Hansel who has clearly spent too much time communing with his commune.

    The actual main drive of the plot, something to do with the search for eternal youth and Derek’s missing son, doesn’t matter all that much. It’s a macguffin which is merely a slight distraction from the increasing silliness of the story. But what silliness… Stiller must have called in a lot of favours, as he’s stuffed the film with loads of celebrity cameos. Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Anna Wintour, Valentino, Tommy Hilfiger and Sting all make very funny cameos. One of this reviewer’s favourites was a game, emotional Kiefer Sutherland, playing himself playing Jack Bauer. Brilliant. The story is so sharp and knowing about its characters that it’s hard to dislike. The laughs come thick and fast, not so much laughing at the characters but with them. For once, Zoolander 2 is a sequel that actually delivers on its potential and comes out shining with that Blue Steel look – enough to stop any real criticism in its tracks. A real rib-tickler. ****

  • emerb

    Zoolander director, co-writer and star Ben Stiller resurrects his dim and narcissistic male model alter ego, Derek Zoolander, 15 years after the irresistible first movie overcame disappointing box office returns. Awkward timing was the problem. Opening just after 9/11, the country just wasn’t ready to laugh at the frivolous antics of a pair of clueless and narcissistic male models as they strutted their stuff but later, the movie went on to earn cult adoration on dvd. Zoolander
    2 certainly has sufficient star power, Stiller is reunited with Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell and also joined by Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig and it’s crammed with celebrity cameos ranging from rock stars to fashion icons.

    Zoolander 2 sees the daft and dim-witted Derek Zoolander and his former runway rival Hansel (Owen Wilson) stitched into a ludicrous plot of celebrity serial murders, a mythical promise of eternal youth and a conspiracy to wipe out the most influential figures in fashion. The opening scene sees a motorcyclist hitman in a high speed chase with Justin Bieber and eventually gunning him down. The dying Bieber Instagrams a final dying selfie and the pose alerts Interpol fashion division chief Valentina Valencia (Penelope Cruz), who identifies it as the classic
    “Blue Steel” pout, which only Zoolander can interpret.

    However, Derek has gone into hiding and withdrawn from the fashion industry after his wife’s tragic death and his son Derek Jr. (Cyrus Arnold) being put into foster care. Meanwhile, rival model Hansel has also retreated from the world and left the modelling scene behind him. Both find themselves reluctantly forced to return to the fashion world after being lured to Rome to attend a gala event thrown by the new queen of fashion, Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig – who wears some of the most outrageous costumes). Valencia tracks them down and offers
    to help Derek find his estranged and chubby son, in return for helping her with her investigation whereby some of the world’s most beautiful young people are being killed, all with the same “Blue Steel” face. This leads them into a battle with the evil Mugatu (Will Ferrell) which ends in a climatic scene with all the top figures in fashion.

    While this comeback film is reasonably funny, sadly the real charms of the original are somewhat lost – it’s just wildly over the top, lacking in a coherent plot and trying too hard for laughs. Of course, Stiller and Wilson’s natural comedic timing helps keep the characters engaging and their daft rapport is amusing at a certain level but there is nothing new and inventive here. For every joke that
    works, too many fall flat and the result is an inconsistent comedy that fails to have us really laughing. Paramount are no doubt betting that the first Zoolander has earned enough of a cult following to ensure good box office returns but I can only see moderate success at best. The goodwill of original fans and the sheer ludicrous fun of the film should give it an initial boost but audiences are unlikely to pour in. Zoolander 3 needs to pick up its game I’m afraid.

  • Joseph McCarthy

    Tries desperately to recreate the charm of the original, but gets lots in a mess of myriad storylines and celebrity cameos. Zoolander is brought back to try and find the killer of celebrities who have been guarding the mysterious chosen one, and Hansel is trying desperately to resolve his complicated relationship with his orgy clique while trying to find his father. And it just sort of rolls along until the end and it gets resolved, and nobody cares