TL;DR – It’s not the worse film I have ever seen, but it’s not that great, the last third is even pretty good, it is unfortunate that you have to sit through the rest of the film to get to it.
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
So at the start of this film, you are reminded that the first Zoolander came out in 2001, wow, it has been a long time between sequels. So the question is, was it worth the wait? did we need a sequel to a reasonably good comedy from 2001?, will the fact that they killed of Justin Beiber in the first 5 minutes of the film absolve it of all wrongs? well not really. With that being said it’s not the worse film I have ever seen, it is just, well, to be honest, a bit of a disappointment.
So why didn’t it work as well as the first film? well it does not help when nothing really happens for the first two-thirds of the film. They start in the US, end up in Rome, and then do nothing really until Will Farrell (Jacobim Mugatu) shows up. Also, it just felt dated, maybe it was the story feeling more of a rehash they anything new, or maybe it was that a lot of the references just felt old like sure Susan Boyle was funny, but like have you actually thought of her in years, probably not.
The other key issue is that it suffered from a bad case of ‘Sequelitis’. The first movie had a lot of charm, it was also surprising because you weren’t expecting the cavalcade of celebrity cameos, even if they were just Billy Zane (sorry Billy, no offence but you know … um … the post-Titanic years have not been kind to you). So with any sequel you have to outdo the previous film, so of course there were celebrity cameos aplenty, but then you were expecting it so most of them really had no impact (bar you, Neil deGrasse Tyson, apparently you can do no wrong), like I am sure they wanted Benedict Cumberbatch’s (All) cameo to be edgy and provocative, but honestly by that time it was getting tiresome, I hope you got paid a lot of money for that Mr Cumberbatch. At one point I was like, “wait was that John Malkovich … you know what I honestly don’t care”. Also, the ‘celebrity cameo’ is something that has become almost the norm since then, so it’s not the same impact.
As well as these issues another problem is the lacklustre use of Penélope Cruz’s character (Valentina Valencia) as the new love interest in the film. The relationship that grew over the first film with Christine Taylor (Matilda Jeffries), was much more organic, as they were two people from different worlds, that both gained in the relationship. However, the only purpose Penélope Cruz’s character had was to move them around the place in the first two acts that then be used to literally get Zoolander to the boss fight because of her large breasts … yer, it’s classy that way. I wish they had taken a queue from the Hot Shots: Part Deux ‘School of how to Deal with a Love Interest in a Sequel’ rather than the Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo ‘School of how to Deal with a Love Interest in a Sequel’.
There are some good parts, the last third of the film it pretty good, or at least a major improvement over the other part, this also coincides with Will Ferrell appearing but I could not tell you if that is a causation or simply a correlation. It is clear that Ben Stiller (Derek Zoolander) and Owen Wilson (Hansel McDonald) still have a good rapport with each other and that helped, also Kiefer Sutherland (Kiefer Sutherland) was strangely endearing during his small part.
In the end, how can I sum up Zoolander 2? Well, it is like they tried to made a dumb movie that is secretly quite smart, but somewhere in production, they forgot about the smart bit.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Directed by – Ben Stiller
Written by – John Hamburg, Ben Stiller, Nick Stoller & Justin Theroux
Starring – Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penélope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Sting, Christine Taylor, Cyrus Arnold, Milla Jovovich, Fred Armisen, Kiefer Sutherland, Justin Beiber & Benedict Cumberbatch + an ass tonne of cameos (metric not imperial)
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Ireland: 12A; NZ: R16; UK: 12A; USA: PG-13