Score: 2.5 out of 5 Stars
This is film review 8
Between ‘Deadpool’ and ‘Zoolander 2’, I can understand why most of the auditorium in the theater I went to was empty for this film. I remember when a sequel to a comedy was made to please the fans with ‘Dumb and Dumber To’; the only difference between ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ and ‘Zoolander 2,’ is that the former lost its charm compared to the first film, while I actually enjoyed the latter over the first ‘Zoolander’.
I don’t understand why most people love the first ‘Zoolander’. I guess it’s a quotable movie. I do appreciate its satirical look on the fashion industry and how dumb it looks, but to me it’s just not a funny movie. At least with this decade-long sequel [change to reflect that it took a decade to get a sequel. As it stands, you are saying the film is a decade long], it’s sort of a breath of fresh air. It doesn’t start off that way however. ‘Zoolander 2’ takes place fifteen years after the first film, and a lot has gone down over the years: Former male model Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) has a family, and his learning center, ‘The Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Who Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too’ has finally been made. It isn’t long before tragedy strikes and Zoolander’s son is taken by child services. This leads him to go under a new name in hiding.
Our plot unfolds when Zoolander gets a message from Alexanya Atoz (a barely recognizable Kristen Wiig) telling him to go to Rome for another fashion show. He reluctantly accepts, only to run into his friend Hansel (Owen Wilson), who is heading the same way. They go to Rome where they meet the most annoying character in film history since Chris Tucker’s Ruby Rhodes in ‘The Fifth Element’, Don Atari (Kyle Mooney), a hipster-like character that goes nuts over fashion models. I swear, every time this character showed up on screen, I couldn’t stand him and was glad not to see him after his final scene.
Who I did actually stand to see was a leather-clad Penelope Cruz as CIA agent Valentina Valencia, who recruits Zoolander to figure out the culprit behind the assassinations of the most beautiful celebrities in the world including Justin Bieber (who dies in an overlong shootout scene), Usher, Demi Lovato, and many others. While this is happening, he has to get his son Derek Jr. (Cyrus Arnold) back from child services and prove himself as a fit father.
I would say more, but not only would the plot give away the movie, it turns out to be a disappointment with where it goes. Not to say that ‘Zoolander 2’ is a terrible movie, but some things didn’t sit right with me. Sure the jokes are funnier than the first, but not all of them work. There are plenty of cameos; some funny (Susan Sarandon quoting ‘Rocky Horror’, Sting becoming a priest, Benedict Cumberbatch playing a transgender model), while some are unnecessary (Kiefer Sutherland becoming pregnant).
I do admit that ‘Zoolander 2’ – although funny – suffers from an out-of-place subplot involving a prophecy that does not work. There are throwbacks and nods to the first movie (Will Ferrel’s Jacobim Mugato, Milla Jovovich’s Katinka, Nathan Lee Graham’s Todd, etc) which help make the movie more enjoyable, and Cyrus Arnold is fantastic as Derek Jr. However, ‘Zoolander 2’ isn’t a great sequel and I didn’t expect it to be.