Film review: Zoolander 2


Set 15 years after the original, Zoolander 2 opens with Justin Bieber being chased through the city of Rome and eventually being gunned down. Before he dies, he sends out a photo of himself to Instagram posing using Derek Zoolander’s (Ben Stiller) trademark “Blue Steel” look…

However, this isn’t the only pop star to be assassinated in this way and with this expression as their last image, so Interpol “Fashion Police” Officer Valentina Valencia (Penelope Cruz) seeks out Derek in order to help her find out what’s going on. After the death of his wife Matilda 2 days after the events of the first film, and subsequently losing custody of their child in 2006, Derek is living in isolation. Hansel (Owen Wilson), Zoolander’s fellow male model, suffered a “career-ending” injury in the same accident that claimed Matilda’s life and now lives as a free spirit in the desert. Desperate to win back his son, Derek decides to come out of retirement to model at the behest of Alexanya Atoz (Kristin Wiig) at her latest fashion show. Little does he and Hansel know how far they have fallen out of the public eye and what strings are being pulled behind the scenes.

The original Zoolander received a relatively ambivalent reception upon its release in 2001, that was however in part due to it hitting the cinemas not long after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since then, it has gained fair recognition as one of Stiller and Wilson’s better efforts which cleverly poked fun and parodied the excess and grandeur of the fashion world. Whilst it was no Dodgeball it certainly raised a few laughs and had plenty of quotable lines and jokes. zoolander_bodyUnfortunately, the same can’t be said of its sequel. The original film managed to send up a lot of the clichés and publicly held beliefs of the fashion industry, helped in no small part by Christine Taylor as Maltida Jefferies in the “straight” role, amongst the many comedic actors. Zoolander 2 seems to pit the witless against the witless so that most of the script seems to be a bit of back and forth between characters before they give up with pained expressions on their faces, causing even more pain for the audience. The return of Will Ferrell as Jakobi Mugatu injects a few droplets of life into proceedings as the film reaches its final third, but even he can’t save the limpness of this sequel. Aside from the lack of chemistry, the plot is a feeble mishmash of predictable reruns of jokes used in the original film. There also seems to be way more celebrity cameos than necessary, with Neil DeGrasse Tyson of all people making an appearance. They’re not all bad, including Kyle Mooney as modern designer Don Atari and Benedict Cumberbatch as an androgynous model. All are hilariously wacky, but it’s a tiny ray of light in an otherwise damp squib of a film.

Ultimately, aside from a few little smirks here and there, the prospect of revisiting that old Stiller and Wilson magic seems to be well and truly unattainable with these characters. Save yourself and avoid this!

Author – Steve, Bristol store