Zoolander 2: Old and Lame

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Zoolander 2 Ben Stiller Owen Wilson

 “Who am I?” While this question may be asked throughout the film, the answer seems clear that ZOOLANDER 2 is just another sequel hoping to follow in moderate success after the original film…and falls flat on the runway.  Ben Stiller directs this train wreck, and he also co-wrote the movie with Justin Theroux.  However, I wish someone could have salvaged this script to make it partially enjoyable.  After an action-packed intro that will leave many Justin Bieber fans devastated, you get a brief rundown of the past 15 years leading up to the plot of the movie.  We first learn that Derek Zoolander (Stiller) is currently a secluded hermit crab living far from the fashion world.  But Billy Zane, the first of many cameos,  seeks out both Derek and Hansel (Owen Wilson) to be part of a new fashion show in Italy hosted by the biggest name in the fashion industry, Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig).  Derek takes this opportunity to possibly reconnect with his estranged son by proving his relevance again to the world (it seems unlikely that he will remain relevant after people watch the film). 

There are many--I mean A LOT--of celebrity cameos throughout the movie.  Some of them I bet really wish they hadn’t signed on—especially some of the really great fashion designers that took part in a very ridiculous scene near the end. But some of them are worth it, such as a cameo or two from one of America’s favorite astrophysicists. 

ZOOLANDER 2 didn’t quite reach the right amount of absurdity or social satire to be a memorable movie. I felt like it took itself a little too seriously despite what audiences were expecting or wanting.  This film relies on a lot of references to the previous film that don’t quite make it across the 15 year gap.  Hansel is in a rocky relationship with the “orgy” that just should have been left in the original ZOOLANDER, especially when they try to add serious elements (maybe they weren’t meant to be serious, but they sure do come across that way – I’m looking at you, Kiefer Sutherland) about responsibility and finding out who you really are.  ZOOLANDER 2 tries to add depth to Derek’s character as well, but it just didn’t seem to work out well, making him a single father trying to reconnect with a son who has a completely different personality and set of interests.  Some odd couples (father and son in this instance) could have worked out well, but the relationship didn’t have a chance to really grow by the time it reached the end of the film. 

I am most disappointed in the fashion police character Melanie Valentina (Penélope Cruz).  As one of the main roles in the film, this new character unfortunately is just here for the eye candy, which maybe isn’t surprising, but disappointing to me, at least, when there was opportunity for more humor that wasn’t only related to breast size.  Will Ferrell reprises his role as “Mugatu” which just seems like an afterthought somehow melded into an already pointless plot. 

I don’t watch a lot of movies in this vein of comedy, but I just feel it lacked cleverness and loveable (or likeable) characters, even though they had so many opportunities.  For example, Benedict Cumberbatch is one that could have excelled more in his role, but I already adore Butterscotch Cabbagepatch, so I was just happy to see him in the film for a brief amount of time.  I don’t recall any quotable lines except one from Owen Wilson when describing a time with Derek Zoolander Jr.’s mom and dad to Derek Zoolander Jr. (Cyrus Arnold) in some very unnecessary but hilariously graphic details.  Overall, there just weren’t enough funny moments (which is what we all wanted), and the multiple plot lines should have been intertwined much more cohesively.  The cast all looked really great after 15 years, but unfortunately they just couldn’t muster the magic behind “Blue Steel” for a sequel.

1.5 / 5.0