|UK Release Date||6th February 2016|
|Reviewed||11th February 2016|
Zoolander was something of a surprise hit. Nobody watched it when it first came out in 2001, it quietly disappeared onto DVD. But for some reason, it caught with a home audience, maybe because Ben Stiller’s effete, vain, painfully stupid creation was better viewed on the small screen. It’s also possible that for once, here was a sly, surreal, satirical movie that actually benefitted from repeat viewings. Whatever the reason, fifteen years ago nobody was clamouring for a sequel. I have a strong suspicion that we were far brighter fifteen years ago than we are now…
Zoolander 2 or Zoolander No. 2 or 2oolander, depending on what you’re reading has been kicking around for a while without getting made, having watched it, I can kind of see why. We pick up with Derek Zoolander, now known as Eric Toolander, sheltering from the carnage of his happy ever after in deep snowy New Jersey. After a string of pop stars are clipped by mysterious motorbike assassins, Billy Zane appears on Derek’s doorstep in order to persuade him back into modelling life. One crummy hologram from uber fashion designer Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig) and Eric is soon heading back to society as Derek. Pretty much the same thing happens with Owen Wilson’s Hansel, now shacked up in the desert and facing a nasty pregnancy outbreak amongst his orgy.
Once back on the catwalk though, the two rivals / friends soon find they have been duped by new fashion kid on the block Don Atari (Kyle Mooney). Their out of date style exposed and cruelly mocked by everyone, the duo somehow end up on a quest to reunite Derek with his estranged son - sent to an orphanage when Derek’s wife dies. In amongst all this is the boys’ arch nemesis Mugatu (Will Ferrell) who dupes Derek into taking his place in model super-jail before kicking into action some plan or other.
Wether Stiller’s follow up is better than the original or not is a completely pointless argument - it clearly isn’t, the question really is whether you should even bother seeing how far short this one falls of the original’s quirky, snide brilliance. Sad to say, a fair distance. Long story short, if you’ve seen the trailer, then that is pretty much your lot really.
Stiller crams in a list of cameos that is almost as endless as Derek’s stupidity but to be honest, once you’ve figured out who Sting is, it all becomes very tiresome. And I mean that I literally felt tired trying to keep up with all the stars scattered around the movie. I have absolutely no idea who the greater majority of them were but it got to the point where if I didn’t know an ‘actor’ was, I just assumed it was someone from FASHION and let it slide.
Stiller and Wilson have great fun returning to their vacuously stupid roles and Ferrell is tolerable as Mugatu but I spent most of the movie longing for the return of Maury Ballstein, here sadly reduced to a very small cameo. Kiefer Sutherland is amusing as Hansel’s most emotional orgy member and Wiig gives us a genuinely disturbing version of Donatello Versace but pretty much everyone else is there purely to be name checked.
The thread reuniting Derek with his son just feels odd (do we really care if this numbnuts bonds with his kid? Is it even good for the kid for that to work out?) and for the life of me I don’t know what Penélope Cruz was thinking when she signed up as Valentina the ex-swimsuit model / government agent.
To be fair to Stiller, the movie zips along at a decent speed and the plot is never put before yet another attempted gag but far too many fall flat. The odd occasionally inspired sequence (Derek’s perfume commercial is hysterical) help to pick up the slack at times but for the most part you’ll be left thinking fondly back to Derek’s ugooly from the first movie.
Not a complete waste of time but not a million miles from it, Stiller's Zoolander 2 can’t match the wit and originality of his original cult-classic. Some amusing jokes and a couple of inspired bits of weirdness can’t make up for the lack of laughter and the endless stream of celebrity cameos will leave you rolling your eyes and looking longingly towards the exit.